Verbs: Elementary Lessons and Activities for Teaching About Verbs

From first to fifth grade, elementary students are taught to use and recognize verbs. In first grade, students learn to conjugate verbs. By fifth grade, they're applying their knowledge and correcting wrong verb usage in writing. Use the following activities and lessons at home if your child could use extra practice recognizing and using verbs.

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Teaching Verbs to Elementary Students

Conjugation

When conjugating a verb in English, students list the various forms of the verb based on the subject. For instance, for the verb walk, the conjugated forms include:

  • I walk
  • You walk
  • He walks
  • We walk
  • They walk

To practice subject-verb agreement, take your child to the park and help him conjugate verbs based on what he sees. If there is a group of people running, he could say, 'They run.' If he sees a dog catching a ball, the conjugated verb would be, 'It catches.' Alternatively, give your child a list of verbs and have him draw a picture along with the conjugation.

Past, Present and Future

Verbs are also used to express the past, present and future. 'I ate an entire pie yesterday' tells you that the action already took place. 'I am eating an entire pie' expresses that the action is happening presently. Finally, 'I will eat an entire pie' indicates that the action will happen in the future.

Practice verb forms at home by having your child write a story. First, review the different forms with your child. Then, ask her to write a story about what she did yesterday, what she plans on doing today and what she'll be doing tomorrow. Keep in mind that if your child is in fifth grade, she may be ready to practice perfect verb forms, which would include 'I have eaten' and 'I will have eaten.'

Meaning

In elementary school, students also study the difference between similar verbs, such as 'march' and 'stomp.' These verbs have slightly different meanings, and helping your child recognize these differences can help him improve his writing.

To practice, have your child act out different verbs. For 'march,' he might emulate a soldier, and for 'stomp,' he might look mad while doing so. Then, have your child put the verbs to use. Have him write a sentence using 'march' and another sentence using 'stomp.' Be sure that he demonstrates the difference between the two in his writing.

Expand this activity to include adverbs to modify the verb. For instance, say, 'Walk quickly,' and have your child act it out. Then, say, 'Walk slowly.' In both cases, your child will be walking, but how he'll be walking should be different.

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