Root Wheels

Learning Strategy
Tier I,II
  • Paper/white board or root wheel graphic organizer
  • writing utensils
Target Student

Students who struggle with root words and vocabulary


Root wheels are a visual representation that increases students understanding and knowledge of roots, prefixes, and suffixes. While 90% of the words that students encounter across various content areas are based on Greek and Latin prefixes, roots and suffixes, root wheels provide students a visual to enhance their understandings of vocabulary through deeper exploration. This strategy can also facilitate drawing and second language exploration.


Learning strategies aid students in understanding information and are to be used by students independently.  Use explicit instruction (explanation, modeling, guided practice, independent practice) to teach learning strategies to students.
Explain the strategy. Provide students with an explanation of the strategy: what it is and when it should be used.
Model the strategy.  Model how to use the strategy.  Using a think aloud procedure, voice out the thought process behind each stage of the strategy. This may need to occur over the course of several days based on the needs of the students.
Guided practice.  Guide students in performing the strategy in small groups or in pairs.  During this time, scaffold the learning and support students who need assistance in using the strategy.  They can also model the think aloud strategy (when in pairs) to strengthen comprehension and learning of the steps involved.
Independent practice. After guided practice, students should only use the strategy independently, once they have shown they have mastered the strategy. Students can also be given the opportunity to reflect on the strategy.

How To

1. Either the teacher or student must choose a root, prefix or suffix that is being studied and write it along with its definition in the center of the inner circle.
2. Identify additional words that also contain that root, prefix, or suffix and use the outer circle sections to record.
3. Students can then define, draw pictures, and create sentences using the words that are in each circle.

Adapted from 40 Strategies for Guiding Readers through Informational Texts
(Moss, B., & Loh-Hagan, V. (2016). 40 strategies for guiding readers through informational texts. New York, NY: The Guilford Press.)


Electromagnetic radiation. Retrieved July 5, 2015, from
WordFind. Retrieved July 5, 2015, from

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