Reading Skills Lesson Plan: Using
Word Parts to Infer Meaning
Student Resource: "Jump
for Center," by Barbara O. Webb
Media Type: Short Story
After completing this lesson, students will be able to:
- Discuss measures of skills-related fitness and identify
physical activities and sports that make use of them.
- Identify rules of effective communication and explain
the importance of using them in social situations.
- Apply the reading skill of using word parts to infer meaning
to a story about developing sports skills.
Introducing the Lesson
Challenge students to identify the greatest living shortstop
in baseball and to defend their answers with hard data. Allow
a moment or two for discussion, which may be quite animated.
Elicit through the discussion that one measure of a great
defensive shortstop is range-the ability to cover a lot of
ground when fielding a ball. Reveal that range is in turn
a function of several measures of skills-related fitness,
in particular agility, the ability to move quickly and gracefully.
Invite students who participated in the discussion to come
to the front of the class to settle another dispute. Ask them
to name the greatest living ballet dancer and to defend their
answers with hard data. If students are unable to name and/or
discuss dancers, point out that playing shortstop and ballet
dancing actually have much in common. Note that these dancers,
like shortstops, need to be agile. Explain, moreover, that
the jobs of shortstop and ballet dancer require good balance
and good reaction time (the ability to respond rapidly to
an event or other stimulus).
On the board, write the phrase reaction time, which
was mentioned in the lesson introduction. Draw a downward-pointing
arrow from the word reaction, and write the three parts
of the word: re + act + (t)ion. Ask students what type
of word part re- is (a prefix). Do the same with -(t)ion
(a suffix) and act (a root).
Explain that sometimes during reading an unfamiliar word
comes up. Add that breaking down the words and examining the
word parts can sometimes construe the meaning of such words.
Point again to the word parts of reaction, and ask
what re- means ("again"). Elicit that -(t)ion
is a suffix that signals a noun. Note that by breaking down
a word in this fashion, students can often arrive at its meaning
without having to stop and consult a dictionary. Tell students
to be on the lookout in the story they are about to read for
words that may be unfamiliar. Encourage them to write down
these words and their definitions for future reference.
After students have completed the reading, you may either
use the following as class discussion questions or assign
them as individual or group work.
- Summarizing. What problem is Pete confronted with
at the beginning of the story? Does he manage to resolve
this problem by the end of the story? Explain.
- Synthesizing. What skills-related fitness measures
do Pete's sport and Larry's chosen activity have in common?
Explain how the sport and activity each makes use of these
measures. What other sports or activities can you name that
make use of these measures?
- Making Inferences. Find each of the following words
in the story. Based on the word parts, tell what each word
means. Explain your answers. Then check your hunches by
looking up the words in a good dictionary.
- Extending. In the story, Pete's attitude toward
Larry and Larry's interests changes. So does his understanding
of what it takes to be a good center in basketball. What
lesson would you say Pete learns about people? What lesson
does he learn about choosing a sport or physical activity
"Healthy" Word Parts
In your study of health, you will come across many words
that may at first be unfamiliar. Breaking down these words
into their roots and affixes will go far in helping you become
a better health reader.
Each of the words below contains a root, plus at least one
prefix or suffix. Make four columns on a sheet of paper. Label
one column Prefix, one Suffix, one Root,
and the fourth Word Meaning. Then break each word into
its parts, and use this information to infer a meaning. Hint:
Some word parts appear more than once. Use this information
to help you form useful generalizations about meaning. Write
your meaning for that word in the fourth column, and check
your results in a good dictionary.