Teaching Verb Tenses


Often the students that we are trying to teach tenses to are very young so that they are not readers. This can complicate how we teach them regular and irregular verbs.

One way is to display pictures and to teach the tenses as a sequence. The above picture is using Super Duper Publications sequencing verb tenses.

SuperDuper Verb Sequence Tense Cards


I like the use of a whiteboard to display the root word and then I sequence the other pictures and label them for the student. So the above picture would be:

  • Mom will hang the picture.
  • Mom is hanging the picture. or Mom hangs the picture.
  • Mom hung the picture.

What will often occur is that the student will begin to be able to recognize a pattern and may begin to accurately say future and present progressive tense and regular past. Regular past should be taught first as there is a rule that can be applied. The irregular past may be more difficult but now you are just having the student learn one word rather than the whole patterning and we know that he has an understanding of past tense.

Teaching tense in a sequence also helps to solidify time concepts.

Notice how the use of sequence and the pictures aid the child that is not able to read. Think about this and the difference when you are presenting a child a sentence and they need to fill in the blank.

Mom________the picture yesterday.  In this example, the child might think of a word that you were not expecting (e.g. painted) or may be having difficulty processing or remembering the whole sentence to be able to go back and fill in the blank.

What are ways that you teach tense?  What other products have you found helpful for the non-reader?


Print Friendly, PDF & Email
, , , , , ,
5 comments on “Teaching Verb Tenses
  1. Thank you! I have been using the Super Duper cards with one of my clients. Sometimes I write “yesterday” “right now” and “today” above each picture as an additional cue. This is very helpful.

  2. Very helpful since I am working on tenses with one on my kiddos. My first attempt at teaching tenses wasn’t very successful! Thank you for the information and strategy, I will be implementing this next week!

  3. Thank you, this is very helpful! Tenses can be very difficult to learn/teach! I plan on checking the SuperDuper cards out if we have them in the clinic!

  4. I love this idea – teaching tenses is difficult, and am happy we have those sequencing cards in the clinic! I will definitely be implementing this strategy with my clients to help them see a pattern before moving forward!

Leave a Reply to Marlaina Giuliani Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Skip to toolbar