Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Pesky Verbs: Make Them Fun!

Do you have children who say, “runned?’ Do others say, “jump – ted?” These are common verb issues for all children but can be especially difficult for our English Language Learners (ELLs). This week in our Maggie’s Earth Adventures Weekly Pack, we discuss ways you can help your emergent readers identify correct verb tenses. If you aren't receiving these activities, please sign up (FREE!) in the box to the right. 

We know that issues with verb tenses start before reading begins. Two concerns can cause difficulty for preschoolers: irregular verbs and the use of correct syllabication for past tense verbs formed with –ed.

When we are helping our children to understand the use of irregular past tense verbs like ran, came, swam, drove, etc., we can heighten awareness of their use by playing games. For example, ask children to run in place. You can have them chant phrases/sentences like, “We are running; we are running.” When you stop, then you can all say, “We ran; we ran.” 

Be sure they understand they are to watch you carefully, and when you stop the action, they are to stop immediately. This can be played like “Simon Says.” Then have different children take turns at leading the group.

You can add a new irregular verb every few days. Keep track of the verbs that are a part of your “game” so you can return to them for review. This makes a fun and meaningful brain break for your young learners.

If you hear children incorrectly saying a verb you have used in the game, you can gently remind them of your game. Of course, do not hold children accountable for any irregular verbs you have not used as a class.

The other common verb problem for preschoolers, especially for ELLs, is the question of how to add –ed to action words. Words like jump, stop, and walk simply add the –ed and the verb remains as a single syllable word, with the –ed pronounced as /t/ or /d/.  But when we have verbs like act, lift, wait, or shout, the –ed forms a new syllable and is sounded: /ed/.

This can be highlighted by adding verbs like this to the brain break game suggested above. By emphasizing this, the “rule” for base verbs with a t or d becomes a more natural part of speech of everyone.

Standards Alignment:
NAEYC - 2.D.
Head Start - IX. A.,B.,& C.

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