Spring 2018



Degree Name


Primary Advisor/Dissertation Chair

Michelle Benegas

Secondary Advisor/Reader One

Megan Stecher

Peer-Reviewer/Reader Two

Sindy Morales Garcia


Despite the vast amount of research on morphemes and literacy, examination of how morphemic analysis affects secondary language learners is limited. Morphemic analysis is the process of using common Latin and Greek prefixes, roots and suffixes to hypothesize the meaning of unknown vocabulary. The primary purpose of the research is to determine how morphemic analysis affects English learners ability to determine the meaning of unknown academic vocabulary in their high school advanced placement geography class. The secondary purpose of the study is to provide secondary teachers a tool to do something about the vocabulary gap they observe between native speakers of English and English learners. Many English learners struggle to access academic texts in their secondary classes while many teachers focus on tier three high impact vocabulary words from their respective content areas. Despite the best efforts of secondary educators, students are left dependent on their teachers for accessing academic texts. This study explores the possibility of teaching students how to teach themselves academic vocabulary by using morphemic analysis. The methodology of the intervention period explicitly teaches a group of students the eight most common prefixes, roots and suffixes from their classroom textbook. Data from a pretest, post-test, and exit survey are used to analyze the effects of morphemic analysis. Results from the study indicate that morphemic analysis aids students ability to comprehend unknown academic vocabulary however, variation of data implies that some participants found the method more helpful than other participants.

Research Methodology

Action Research


At-risk Students, ESL/ ELLs, Literacy, Social Justice

Included in

Education Commons