Have you been looking for a new way to reinforcereview and reteach Greek and Latin roots to your students?


Reinforce, review and reteach Greek and Latin roots with these 2 fidget spinner activities.

Using a Fidget Spinner with these activities provides them with active involvement in their learning!


  1. Word Whirl – define words with common Greek and Latin Roots and/or use in a sentence
  2. Twirl and Tell – create words from common Greek and Latin roots


You may already know that…

  • Greek and Latin Roots are the basis for more than 90% of the 2+ syllable words in the English language.
  • A single root can help us understand 5-20 words (Bromley, 2008).

And you may also know that…

  • The English Language consists of almost 2 million words! 


Did you know that the list is still growing?


Most of the approximate 20,000 new words added each year come from technology.


According to Chandler and Schwartz, 1961, 75% of Spanish words are also based on Latin words.  Many other languages also share Greek and Latin roots. 

As the number of English Language Learners in our classrooms continues to rise, it makes sense to emphasize vocabulary study with Greek and Latin roots.

Greek and Latin roots are bridge for our English Language Learners to strengthen vocabulary and reading comprehension.

(*affiliate links provided in this post)

In fact, I found a great resource that explains in more detail why vocabulary is so important in literacy development. Greek and Latin Roots: Keys to Building Vocabulary by T. Rasinski, N. Padak, R. Newton and E. Newton will also expand your understanding of how to build vocabulary. The authors provide culminating decades of research to support the fact that proficiency in vocabulary leads to reading comprehension growth.

In the book, the authors give an example that clearly shows how words we use often have physical meanings, as well as literal meanings.

Let’s take this root example from the book:


cur(r), curs- running, run

physical running-

                 courier– runs letters and packages from one place to another on bike, foot, or delivery trucks

                 racecourse– athletes, horses, and cars run on it

                 coursers– (from the poem, “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas”) “Onward his courses they came!” Santa’s reindeer are fast runners!


figurative running-

                 cursive script – our letters run together with ligatures and we can write more quickly than when we merely print block letters

                cursor on a computer- runs across the screen as we move our mouse

                current of a river- has running water

                current events- events are now running


Another tremendous resource to have at your fingertips is Timothy Rasinski’s website. You will find his blog, additional research, professional development videos and his published books.

Is it strange that I get excited about understanding how word parts go together like puzzle pieces?

Let’s get into the fun part now, the activities, to help you share this enthusiasm with your students! 


Word Whirl

The student uses the common root to define the word and/or provide a sentence of 5 or more words in it.


   1.  With one finger on the middle of it, gently “whirl” the spinner.

   2.  Choose an option to go with the word that the spinner points to:

  • Option A: Use clues to define.
  • Option B: Include the word in a sentence of 5 or more words.

    3.  Complete Option A or Option B in the amount of time it takes for the spinner to stop after spinning it a second time.

    4.  If the spinner lands on the blank space, the player needs to think of a word that includes one of the roots, then choose Option A or Option B.


Twirl and Tell

The student creates words from common Greek and Latin roots.


  1. Mark one of the arms of the spinner.
  2. Students will “twirl” the fidget spinner to select a Greek or Latin root or affix.
  3. Twirl” the spinner a second time and form as many words from the root or affix before the spinner stops.
  4. Earn a point for each correct word.
  5. Record the correct words in the letter bubbles on the graphic organizer that is provided.



Learners will show reading improvement as they understand how the meanings of words can be formed. This will occur through understanding how many words are built upon Greek and Latin roots. Understanding that roots may have literal and figurative meanings is advantageous to all learners.

Grasping the knowledge of each root will allow for the understanding of 5-20 words.

A sample of these 2 activities are provided through the links above.


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Please share your experiences with Greek and Latin roots in the comment section below.