Cognitively, we process words in morphological families (Baayen, 2007), but learners manifest differences in their awareness of these relationships (Carlisle, 2007). This awareness goes hand in hand with vocabulary development. I am not speaking about memorizing words so much as about finding meaning and logic within words.
For example, the root -ug- (Old Norse) meaning 'dread, fear, horror, loathing' yielded a fair number of words over the centuries--including ugly, ugliness, uggle, ugging, uglification, uglify, etc. Some of these words are extinct and some are very rare, found only in a good dictionary. Ugsome and ugsomeness connote ugliness to the point of fear and dread--not just a bad hair day.
Is it difficult to decipher your students' handwriting or spelling? You might enjoy Southey (1804): "I do beseech you mend your uglyography."
Use the links in the sidebar to help diverse learners make connections across related words via brief and cognitively engaging lessons. This type of linguistic insight promotes comprehension (Nagy, 2007) and is often overlooked in curriculum and instruction.
"Morphological knowledge is a wonderful dimension of the child's uncovering of "what's in a word," and one of the least exploited aids to fluent comprehension" (Wolf, 2007, p. 130).