Sorry about the absence of angle brackets. Only have MicroSoft Word right now, so using italics instead.

We are working with the spelling of the word character, which my student spelled: *cariktor, clearly a phonetic spelling. When I asked him about his process, I realized that he was breaking the word into syllables as well as "sounding it out." (Although he knows this fails him so often, it is so drilled in from other forces of the universe and seems to be like an old habit that I find my students reflexively returning to.) We began an investigation together beginning with a very rich and interesting discusssion about the meaning of the word. Then onto the investigation of the structure. My student hypthesized that cha- was a prefix, which we tested and found no supporting evidence at all. (This was, however, a great vocabulary generating endeavor and lead us right into exploring the various phonemes that the ch digraph can represent. We could not find evidence of any prefix. So we looked for a possible suffix, which -er is clearly, and of course could generate tons of words in which it was indeed, without question, a suffix. Yet we could not make sense of it as a suffix in our word. Then we decided to check etymonline and found great richness regarding the etymology; however, no help regarding the structure of this word of Greek origin. It seems to us that the word is the base. So, my twofold question is: is that so? And if it is so, I'd love to see how other real spellers would work through the spelling. The LEX cards are invaluable for the grapheme/phoneme and phoneme/grapheme work, and that's how I'm guiding our continued exploration. But I sure would love to know what others do with these long bases. (And always in the back of my mind is the question: What what you have done with this word before real spelling, with O-G--and I don't mean the Old Grouch).

Thanks for any responses. My students get a lot from reading them. 

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