Decoding: Suffixes | EL Education Curriculum

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Daily Learning Targets

  • Opening A: I can identify the suffix that has been added to a base word. (RF.1.3)
    • I can read words with "-s," "-ed," and "-ing" endings.
  • Work Time A: I can read a CVC word that is changed into a CVCe word by using a magic "e." (RF.1.2, RF.1.3)
    • I can identify the short vowel sounds for each of the five vowel letters.
    • I can listen to a single-syllable word and identify the short vowel it contains.
    • I can decode a word with a vowel in the middle and a silent "e" at the end.
    • I can read words with "-s," "-ed," and "-ing" endings.

Ongoing Assessment

  • Observe students during Work Time A. Determine whether they can identify the suffix and the base word.



1. Opening (5 minutes)

A. Introducing Suffixes "-s," "-ed," and "-ing" to CVCe Base Words: "bake," "bakes," "baking," "baked"

2. Work Time (15 minutes)

A. Decoding: Suffix Sleuth with CVCe Base Words

3. Closing and Assessment (3-5 minutes)

A. Reflecting on Learning

4. Differentiated Small Group Instruction and Rotations (40 minutes)

In Advance

  • Prepare:
    • Suffix Cards (see supporting materials)
    • Suffix Sleuth Word List (see supporting materials)
    • Snapshot assessment (optional)
  • Gather materials for differentiated small group instruction (see Differentiated Small Groups: Work with Teacher).


Key: Lesson-Specific Vocabulary (L); Text-Specific Vocabulary (T)

  • base word, blend, decode, proficient, suffix, sleuth (L)


  • Suffix Cards (for teacher display)
  • Anchor chart for CVCe long vowels (begun in Cycle 15, Lesson 76; for teacher reference)
  • Suffix Sleuth Word List inside clear sheet protectors; (one per student or one per pair)
  • Clipboards (one per student or one per pair)
  • Whiteboard markers (one per student)
  • Whiteboard erasers (or tissues, socks, etc.; one per student)
  • Snapshot Assessment (optional; one per student)


OpeningMeeting Students' Needs

A. Introducing Suffixes “-s,” “-ed,” and “-ing” to CVCe Base Words: “bake,” “bakes,” “baking,” “baked”

  • (Suggested transition song, sung to the tune of “The More We Get Together”):

“Sit down and come together, together, together. Sit down and come together, together, right now. Open your ears now, and listen to these words. It’s time to hear some words now and think how they’ve changed.”

  • Begin the Suffixes instructional practice:

1. Teacher says: “We will listen to some words to hear how they’re similar and how they’re different. Listen carefully.”

2. Teacher says: “bake,” “bakes,” “baking,” “baked.”

3. Teacher asks:

“How are these words similar?” (all have the sound /ā/; all have the word “bake” in them)

“How are they different?” (The ending changes.)

4. Teacher says: “That’s right. They all have the sound /ā/ and all have ‘bake’ in them.”

5. Teacher places the Suffix Cards on the board.

6. Teacher repeats the four words aloud and asks:

“What do you suppose these groups of letters represent?” (the endings of the words)

7. Teacher says the word “bakes” and invites a student to identify the Suffix Card that represents the ending.

8. Repeat step 7 with the words: “baking” and “baked.”

9. Teacher says: “These endings are called suffixes. All of the words I said have the base word ‘bake’ in them, but they each have a different suffix. The suffixes change the meaning of the base word ‘bake.’”

10. Teacher invites a volunteer to use “bake” in a sentence.

11. Teacher writes the word “bake” on the board while students skywrite the letters.

12. Teacher asks:

“What is the job of the ‘e’ at the end of this word?” (magnanimous magician, tells the “a” to make the /ā/ sound)

13. Teacher invites volunteers to use “bakes” in a sentence.

14. Teacher writes the word “bakes” under “bake.”

15. Repeat steps 13 and 14 with “baking” and “baked.”

16. Teacher and students read the words together.

17. Teacher asks:

“How are these words similar?” (all have the letter “a”; all have the /ā/ sound.)

“How are they different?” (they have different suffixes; there is no “e” in baking)

18. Teacher points to the Suffix Card “-s” and asks:

“Which of the words in the list has this suffix?” (“bakes”)

19. Teacher draws a box around the suffix.

20. Repeat steps 18 and 19 with the remaining Suffix Cards.

21. Teacher says: “When we listened to each of these words, we heard the base word ‘bake’ in all of them. Let’s underline each base word and see if ‘bake’ is in all of them.”

22. Teacher underlines the base word in each word.

23. Teacher asks:

“What do you notice?” (Two of the base words are missing the silent “e.”)

24. Teacher points to the base word “bake” from the word “bakes” and says: “This is clear. Here is the base word ‘bake.’”

25. Teacher points to “bak” from the two remaining words (“baking” and “baked”) and says: “This isn’t so clear. I would expect this to be ‘bak,’ but when we said the words, we clearly heard ‘bake.’” Teacher asks:

“What happened to the silent ‘e’?” (Responses will vary.)

26. Teacher says: “I wonder if there is a clue in the suffixes?”

27. Teacher points to the three Suffix Cards (“-s,” “-ed,” and “-ing”) and asks: “What do we notice? Two of these have something in common.” (“-ed” and “-ing” both start with a vowel.)

28. Teacher says: “Hmm…it was the words with the suffixes ‘-ing’ and ‘-ed’ that seemed to have the problem.  The silent ‘e’ disappeared in those base words. And both of those suffixes start with a vowel. I wonder if there is a connection? I think we may have to be sleuths and see if we can figure this out!”

  • Students may find it difficult to see that the letter "e" in the suffix "-ed" is not the silent "e." Consider writing the word "bake" and then adding the letters "-ed" to the end (making "bakeed"). Comparing "bakeed" to "baked" can support their understanding that the silent "e" is dropped from the base word when adding "-ed." Consider adding this to step 24.
  • In step 27, consider sorting the Suffix Cards by putting "-ing" and "-ed" together and "-s" separate and asking students to point out what the "-ing" and "-ed" suffixes have in common (both start with a vowel).

Work Time

Work TimeMeeting Students' Needs

A. Decoding: Suffix Sleuth with CVCe Base words

  • (Suggested transition song, sung to the tune of "The More We Get Together"):

"Now it's time to decode words using the letter sound connections; now it's time to decode words; be careful, watch for the change."

  • Begin the Decoding: Suffix Sleuth instructional practice:

1. Teacher says: "Last week, we learned how to be syllable sleuths. Today, we are going to be sleuths again: suffix sleuths. Remember, a sleuth is like a detective. We are going to be like detectives to learn about how some suffixes make the magic 'e' invisible."

2. Teacher writes the following words on the board while saying them aloud: "smile," "smiles," "smiling," "smiled."

3. Teacher invites individual students to identify the suffixes in each word.

4. Teacher draws a box around each suffix as it is identified.

5. Teacher underlines the base word in each word.

6. Teacher and students reads "smile," noting there is no suffix.

7. Teacher and students read base word "smile" in the word "smiles."

8. Teacher and students read base words "smil" in both "smiling" and "smiled."

9. Teacher says: "There it is again. When the suffixes starting with a vowel are added to the base word with a silent 'e,' the silent 'e' disappears! But something is still making the vowel long, because this word ('smiling') isn't 'smilling,' and this word ('saved') isn't 'savved.' That magical magnanimous 'e' must have become invisible so it could still cast its spell on the base word!"

10. Teacher says: "Remember, a sleuth is a detective. As a suffix sleuth, you will search for the suffixes and base words, and use that information to help you read the words."

11. Teacher distributes Suffix Sleuth Word Lists, clipboards, whiteboard markers, and whiteboard erasers. Teacher guides students through the following steps in their analysis of words:

A. Identify the suffix and draw a box around it.

B. Underline the base word.

C. Say the base word aloud. If it doesn't sound right, try it as though there were an invisible magic "e" making the vowel sound long.

  • Consider drawing a caret (^) to show where the "invisible magic 'e'" is between the base word and suffix in words with suffixes that begin with a vowel. Students can do this on their Word Lists as well. This adds a visual confirmation that the base word is a CVCe word even when the silent "e" is dropped before a suffix beginning with a vowel.
  • Consider extending the depth of analysis in this lesson by including one or more short-vowel unchanging base words (examples: "jump," "land"). When students analyze this word with "-ing" and "-ed," they see and hear that the base word "looks and sounds" right and that there is no invisible magic "-e." The base word is a closed-syllable word.

Closing & Assessments

ClosingMeeting Students' Needs

A. Reflecting on Learning

  • Emphasize that successful learners keep track of and reflect on their own learning. Point out that they are doing this each time they consider how what they did today helps them become more proficient readers.
  • Invite students to reflect and share with a partner (or whole group). Ask:

"What did you do today that is helping you become a more proficient reader?" (Responses will vary. Example: "I looked to see if there was a vowel at the beginning of the suffix. If there was, I thought about how maybe there was an invisible magic 'e' in the base word.")

  • For students who need additional support organizing their ideas: Provide sentence frames. Examples:
    • "When I made the sounds for the word _____, I _____."
    • "When I wrote the letter _____, I _____."
    • "When I blended the sounds _____, I _____."

Differentiated Small Groups: Work with Teacher

Suggested Plan: Teacher works with the Pre-Alphabetic and Partial Alphabetic groups. Teacher may meet briefly with the Full and Consolidated groups to provide a weekly Word List and exit ticket, or possibly set up a management system allowing these students to find the list and exit ticket and begin work independently.

Note: Groups not working with the teacher at a given time should be engaged in purposeful independent rotation work. Refer to the Independent and Small Group Work Guidance document (see K-2 Skills Resource Manual).


  • Aim small group instruction at building students' knowledge and skills of letter identification and phonological awareness.
  • Use the Assessment Conversion chart to determine appropriate Kindergarten lessons and Activity Bank ideas to use in daily small group instruction.
  • Consider saying pairs of words with short and long vowel sounds (example: "can" and "cane"). Ask students to identify the vowel sounds in each word. Write both words for them to see and discuss what might be making the change in the sound.

Partial Alphabetic:

  • Consider identifying an appropriate previous cycle that students in the early to middle Partial Alphabetic (PA) phase may need continued work with (see Assessment Conversion chart).
  • For students in the late Partial Alphabetic (PA) phase, consider either continuing to work with single-syllable CVCe words or continuing the word analysis from Work Time A from today's whole group lesson.
  • Related Activity Bank suggestions:
    • Any Activity Bank activity from the Vowels category (V)

Full and Consolidated Alphabetic:

  • Establish weekly Word Lists and exit tickets for independent work time.
  • Additional Supporting Materials:
    • Word List Guidance (for teacher reference)
    • Word List (one per student or pair)
    • Word Card Template (one per student or pair)
    • Sorting Words Template (one per student or pair)

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