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Tips for Parents to Teach Past Tense to Kids

June 16, 2022

Many students find it challenging to use the past tense. If they have any desire to discuss something that generally occurred, they will use the present since they find it difficult how to frame the past and will use verb modifiers, for example, "yesterday" or time adverbs to sort out an activity that had a start and an end. This can make it challenging to tell when a kid trying to describe a present or a past action. You can teach past tense by incorporating these exceptionally simple tips into your lesson:

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1. Choose affirmative regular past tense verbs to teach

The main thing you should do is conclude whether you really want to teach regular or irregular past tenses. Regular verbs are a lot more straightforward to teach because there are a few - extremely graphical, without a doubt - rules educators need to remember.

Make a first attempt to use verbs nearer to the kid's current circumstance (play, talk, study) and make them down to earth. The more recognizable these verbs are to your students, the simpler will be for them to comprehend thoughts, for example, 'I play football on Sundays' versus '(but) yesterday, I played basketball'.

To teach past tense effectively, you will require pictures of a wide range of occasions; classroom exercises are perfect for this. A very useful idea would be an image of you and your students having a good time in class contrary to one of your empty classroom. They will comprehend you 'completed' the class since there are graphical components to tell them so. There should be sufficiently reasonable distinctive elements in these photos so that your kids can determine what occurred between the two activities.


2. Use past tense verbs as a solution to 'what happened?

Show your student a first picture in a sequence of events and describe what happened. Then, show your child the second picture and ask “What happened?” They should be able to describe the action, provided you give them enough vocabulary beforehand, that was performed, even if they don’t know how to use the past tense yet. If not, you may want to go back and work on labeling actions (‘today’ vs. ‘yesterday’) before you work on the past tense of them. Repeat the correct past tense pronunciation and use, putting a lot of emphasis on the -ed ending, and tell your students that since it’s something that already happened, you have to change the word. Here’s how that might sound during the activity:

Teacher: Look, she is studying! (Show second picture) Oh no! What happened?

Student: Finish!

Teacher: You’re right, she finished. Listen, that’s something that already happened, so we’re going to change it. Instead of “finish”, we’re going to say “finishED”. Listen, she FINISHED.

Student: She finished.

Keep doing this activity until your students can appropriately use the past tense to talk about the actions that are represented.

3. Use past tense verbs to remember past events

Get some information about previous occasions like birthday celebrations, going out traveling, or recent holidays. While they are doing this, ensure they are using past tenses. While they are doing this, make sure they are using the past tense. If the target student forgets, you can use the same question as you did in step two by telling him that it’s something that already happened so we have to change the word. Keep doing this until your students can recall past events using the correct past tense verbs.

4. Use past tense verbs in conversations

Now that the idea of using the past tense when describing pictures and when recalling past events is clear for your students, the only thing rest is everyday conversation. Whenever you hear any student incorrectly use the past tense in conversation, help remind them in the same way you did in the other steps. In the long run, your students will be able to do this on their own and will not need your help anymore.

To help your student or child get the necessary practice and understanding of how to use past endings, please, have a look at these two worksheets, which can be the perfect help:

ed1 ed2

Click on the worksheets to complete them online!

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