Word Study for ELL Students

            Since they must be more methodical to negotiate the nature of spelling/sound/meanings relationships, English Language Learner students have the potential to be more sensitive to words than monolingual speakers.  The study of cognates seems productive for students at the derivational relations stage and can profit native English speakers trying to learn Spanish, French, or German as a foreign language.  Cognates are words in different languages that share similar meanings and structures because of their similar origins.  Morphological similarities between English and students home language can be recognized by helping students pay attention to cognates.  Sorting English and Spanish cognates offers students opportunities to investigate spelling-meaning relationships and grammatical features. 

            Word roots also present a good alternative for examining cognates in other languages.  As you study different Latin roots take time to look for cognates.  Also, when students find cognates you can add them to a chart in the classroom for the students to refer to later.  However, some spelling-meaning connections that appear obvious may be misleading; therefore, further investigation may be in order to confirm the connection. 

Donald Bear, M. I. (2008). Words Their Way. Upper Saddle River: Pearson.

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