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Spotlight on Grammar Verbs
Ages: 8-11   Grades: 3-6

Teach verb tenses, types of verbs, and irregular verbs and improve spoken language, written expression, and reading comprehension. 


  • Recognize and use correct grammar in speaking and writing
  • Boost reading comprehension
  • Understand and use verb forms in expressive language
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The stimulating activities feature:

  • clear, concise explanations of verb concepts
  • appealing one-page lessons with plenty of practice activities
  • simple sentence structure and vocabulary with easy readability
  • step-by-step progression in difficulty to build success and motivation
  • a pretest/posttest

The lessons cover multiple aspects of verb concepts, beginning with the definition of a verb and identification of verbs.  Students learn about subject-verb agreement and verb endings.  Then, they learn to distinguish and use these verbs:

  • present tense (e.g., eats, splashes), past tense (e.g., walked), and future tense (e.g., will walk)
  • helping verbs (e.g., is, will, have) and irregular verbs (e.g., bring, swim, eat)
  • verbs with direct objects (e.g., bought apples, drink milk)
  • past participles (e.g., have played)
  • linking verbs (e.g., was, is, will be)
  • troublesome verbs (e.g., lie/lay, may/can)

You may purchase Spotlight on Grammar Verbs individually or as part of the 6-book Spotlight on Grammar set.  The 6-book set consists of:

Spotlight on Grammar Adjectives and Adverbs

Spotlight on Grammar Compound and Complex Sentences

Spotlight on Grammar Nouns

Spotlight on Grammar Pronouns

Spotlight on Grammar Simple Sentences

Spotlight on Grammar Verbs


Copyright © 2006

40 pages, pretest/posttest, answer key
  • Grammar, discourse structure, and metalinguistics are all connected to reading achievement and are required for text comprehension (ASHA, 2001).
  • Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) should scaffold their instruction of syntactic structures to help students express complex thoughts coherently (Nippold, Mansfield, & Billow, 2007).
  • A study by Feng and Powers (2005) found that grammatical mini-lessons targeting students' error patterns resulted in improved short- and long-term accuracy.
  • Ebbels, van der Lely, and Dockrell (2007) found that children with specific language impairment (SLI) showed improved learning across trials of verb use after language therapy vs. a control group of children with SLI with no direct intervention on verb use.  Generalization of untargeted verbs also showed carryover of targeted language skill.

Spotlight on Grammar Verbs incorporates these principles and is also based on expert professional practice.


American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). (2001). Roles and responsibilities of speech-language pathologists with respect to reading and writing in children and adolescents. Retrieved July 24, 2009, from

Ebbels, S.H., van der Lely, H.K.J., & Dockrell, J.E. (2007). Intervention for verb argument structure in children with persistent SLI: A randomized control trial. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 50, 1330-1349.

Feng, S., & Powers, K. (2005). The short- and long-term effect of explicit grammar instruction on fifth graders' writing. Reading Improvement, 42(2), 67-72.

Nippold, M.A., Mansfield, T.C., & Billow, J.L. (2007). Peer conflict explanations in children, adolescents, and adults: Examining the development of complex syntax. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 16, 179-188.


Carolyn LoGiudice, Kate LaQuay


Carolyn LoGiudice, M.S., CCC-SLP, was a speech-language clinician in school, clinic, and private settings before joining LinguiSystems in 1984.  She has co-authored many materials with LinguiSystems, including The WORD Test 2, No-Glamour Vocabulary Cards, The Test of Semantic Skills (TOSS-P and TOSS-I), 100% Grammar, and 100% Punctuation.

Kate LaQuay, J.D., became part of LinguiSystems' extended family more than 20 years ago when her mother, Carolyn LoGiudice, joined the company.  Now a mother herself, Kate has co-authored several LinguiSystems products, including U.S. History A Reading Comprehension Book, U.S. Government A Reading Comprehension Game, and Spotlight on Vocabulary Levels 1 and 2.  Previously, she practiced law for six years in Los Angeles.


By itself, "grammar" is not an engaging topic for students.  You won't hear them spontaneously discuss the function of an adjective vs. an adverb.  Students don't get excited about linking verbs.  Most adults outside the academic arena even shy away from grammar, especially now that our computers can check our grammar for reports or other writings.  Even so, effective speakers and writers need to understand and use grammar as a sharp tool to express their thoughts.  Grammar rules help us modify a message for a target audience.  We even break some rules on purpose to be more casual.

Some say the most practical reason to teach grammar in school is to help students score well on tests.  That practice, while pragmatic, ignores the lifelong benefits of solid grammar skills.  We make snap judgments when we meet people.  These impressions are based on communication style as much as appearance and background knowledge.  When all we know about someone is what that person has written, as in many emails, grammar and writing style are even more important.

How, then, do we entice students to master basic grammar well enough to apply it in their conversation and their writing?

  • First, teach the grammar concept or rule.  Highlight a specific grammar point.
  • Then, give your students practice, practice, practice.
  • Incorporate the grammar concept in both oral and written activities.
  • Spotlight the concept as your students encounter it in textbooks, Internet articles, school announcements, and classroom interaction.
  • Demonstrate both correct and incorrect use of the grammar concept.  Talk about the impact of the concept on a message's listener or reader.  Often a message is clearer when it is grammatically correct.  Incorrect grammar can also distract from the meaning or desired effect of a message.

The goals of Spotlight on Grammar are:

  • to help students recognize and utilize correct grammar in their speaking and writing
  • to boost students' reading comprehension by understanding the role of grammar

All six books in Spotlight on Grammar concentrate on basic grammar concepts typically mastered by students in fifth grade.  Use the Pretest/Posttest to determine your students' specific strengths and weaknesses.  The activities within each book are sequenced by general complexity.  Sentence structure, vocabulary, and readability are kept simple to keep students' energies focused on the grammar concept vs. reading comprehension.

Spotlight on Grammar Verbs presents basic information about verb tenses, types of verbs, and irregular verbs.  Below are additional activities to supplement the content of this book.

  • Help your students to list all the verbs/action words they can think of for a given topic, such as paper, school, or a current learning topic.  For enrichment, talk about adverbs that could modify these verbs and nouns that could do the actions.
  • Encourage your students to make new verbs for the actions of imagined machines or creatures.  If all the objects in your classroom were animated at night, what verbs would your students use to describe the objects' actions?
  • Point out that many nouns can become verbs and vice versa.  Add -or or -er to an action verb to make a noun that does the action: surfboard + -er = surfboarder, act + -or = actor, etc.  Likewise, add -ing to a verb and use it as a noun (gerund): study + -ing = studying as in Studying exercises your brain.
  • Write 20 nouns on separate cards.  Then write 20 verbs on separate cards, choosing actions that could be done by the nouns in the first set of cards.  Give each student one card and ask the students to pair themselves as a noun and a verb that go together well.
  • Ask small groups of students to travel across the same path in your room, one at a time.  Each student must move differently.  The other students must think of a verb or verbs to describe each student's movement across the room.  No two students may move the same way; they must vary their body position, speed, gestures, etc.  Allow your students to make up new verbs for this activity, explaining the reasoning that led to creating such a word.

English has a rich vocabulary, yet we restrict our vocabulary to common words.  Each week, choose one common verb and challenge your students to list as many synonyms as they can.  Here are some good candidates for this activity:

         see            like             want          walk          hurry

         eat             touch          have          go             hold

         write          say             do              use           take

         sit              move          get             find           know

We hope Spotlight on Grammar Verbs enlivens grammar lessons for you and your students!

Carolyn and Kate