Rummy Roots: A Vocabulary Building Game

I wanted to approach vocabulary building with my boys through studying Latin and Greek roots. I found the Rummy Roots card game and decided to give it a try. It didn’t look so inviting at first glance, but my boys caught on to the game quickly and played it easily. Because my younger son is only 5 I help him out. We play the card game like Go Fish, but instead of saying Go Fish we say Go Dig.

Rummy Roots

This is what the cards look like. They all have either the Greek or Latin root or the meaning. So you have a card called Big/large and it’s match is Megas. The child has to ask for the match instead of what is on the card. If a child has a card with the word Megas he has to ask for Big/Large. I have my five year old tell me which one he wants to ask and I look it up on the pre-level Rummy Roots paper and we ask my older son together.

Rummy Roots
Here you see a list of Greek or Latin roots with their meanings. This is just one set. There is an additional set that we haven’t even used yet. This list is often referenced throughout the Rummy Roots game.

Rummy Roots

Here is my five year old deep in thought. We play Rummy Roots once a week. After 5 times playing this game my five year old started to ask for some matches without me telling him the English meaning or the Latin or Greek root.

Rummy Roots

Here is a set of my son’s matches at the end of the game. I have them total the numbers on the cards to see who won.

We have only begun to play Rummy Roots. It has three levels of play after the pre-level and your child will learn over 40 roots. Level 1 starts to give your child practice combining roots to create words. Levels 2 and 3 give your child more practice combining roots with increasing difficulty. It is aimed for grade three and up, but I haven’t had a problem adapting it for my five year old.


  1. I also used this game when my daughter was 5 and tried to introduce the idea to other homeschool students when they would be at out house, but we always had to help them so much with a cross reference sheet so they could play with us and could never get beyond the Pre Rummy Roots level of the game. Then about grade 4 we formed a co-op class with about 16 students and used some ideas from the English From the Roots Up book, had a fabulous time playing the game every class gathering and had students give oral reports on fun details about various roots. Now 12 years later i ran into one to the old students who still remembers details from that class and what he learned.

  2. I agree with Bert! He’s cute, just like my son. With what you’re doing, I’m sure your boys will grow up with awesome vocabulary. It will help them excel in school and socialize with different people. For my son, my wife decided to train him with WordSmart. She decided to try it out because she didn’t believe those WordSmart complaints. If only those people could see how much the program has helped our son so far, they will also belie that WordSmart scam thing. I really think it’s a great product.

  3. Your kid is adorable!

  4. We love this game and use it in combination with English from the Roots Up. We started when my youngest was in K. I now have a 5th and 7th grader. We’ve been playing Level 1 for awhile…it’s pretty tough.

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