Teaching past tense is just one of the many tasks that come our way in language therapy. Kids with developmental language disorders frequently struggle to correctly produce regular and irregular past tense verbs. Time for a little speech therapy intervention to the rescue!
As always, it’s important to explicitly teach our elementary-aged and older students what we are working on.
Here are some simply-worded explanations of our targets here:
Verbs are words that say what people do. Past tense verbs tell us actions that people did in the past.
Regular past tense verbs add a “ed” to the end of the word. Now, this “ed” could be pronounced like /t/, /d/, or /ɪd/, but the written form has the “ed.”
Irregular past tense verbs don’t follow the “ed” rule! Sometimes the verb stays the same. Sometimes the end sound changes.
Here are some helpful steps to take when teaching past tense verbs in speech therapy:
Digital therapy materials are amazing for in-person therapy (say goodbye to hours of laminating and velcro!) and teletherapy or virtual therapy. Save time and paper by not printing, and you can use beautiful, full color materials that are ready to go when you are!
My DIGITAL Past Tense Verbs Sentence Sliders for Speech Therapy are an excellent resource for targeting past tense verbs. They are available on both Google Slides and Boom Cards, whichever format you prefer to use!
In this product, you will find 180 pages of increasing difficulty, targeting the following verbs:
Regular Past Tense Verbs: Brushed, picked, baked, washed, painted, kicked, stacked, climbed, colored, raised, cleaned, played, tied, collected, tipped, covered, popped, checked, dropped, opened, jumped
Irregular Past Tense Verbs: Swam, cut, got, fell, caught, made, fell (asleep), grew, hurt, won, blew, threw, built, found, went (up, down), broke
In addition, there are direct teaching pages included for both regular and irregular verbs.
This resource includes 3 levels for each photo/verb as follows:
If you’re interested in a low-tech, comprehensive item providing instruction materials for past, present, and future verbs, check out my All About Verbs: A Verb and Sentence Creation Packet. Identify, sort verbs, and create sentences with your students!
My past tense sliders have over 150 five star reviews! Check out what other SLPs have had to say:
THANK GOODNESS FOR THIS MATERIAL! I love how this resource breaks it down, and it is SO REPETITIVE! I had a student at the beginning of the year, that just was not understanding past tense verbs based on other materials I had provided. The repetition and color-coding really helped this student, and he picked it up in ONE SESSION! He was able to carry it over into our next few sessions, and now we are working on using past-tense to describe a sequence!– Stephanie S.
This is a definite “go to” resource for me! As I travel, I can always depend on this resource to get me through a 30 minute session with any mixed group (grade 1 – High school with disabilities). Kids are engaged, and of course, love using the ipad! I love that I can easily use this for not only syntax/morphology, but all areas of speech and language!!!!– Christa F.
All of your resources have been life savers during this time. Your organized, systematic approach makes it so easy to provide appropriate intervention and truly help to guide my instruction. They are also very engaging! The visual of sliding the endings onto the words has been extremely helpful to all of my students who struggled with the idea of past tense endings! Thank you!!– Barbara T.
Make sure to check out the Supplemental Materials in this article. It contains specific verb targets for 10 weeks worth of therapy sessions with fun activities!:
Calder, S., Claessen, M., Ebbels, S., & Leitão, S. (2021). The efficacy of an explicit intervention approach to improve past tense marking for early school-age children with developmental language disorder. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research. https://doi.org/10.1044/2020_JSLHR-20-00132
Hopefully that gives you some quick and easy tips on how to teach past tense verbs!