Grade Levels: K-3

This page provides information to support educators and families in teaching K-3 students about tenses. It is designed to complement the Tenses topic page on BrainPOP Jr.

Though there are many different verb tenses, your children should be familiar with the past, present, and future tenses. Explain that there are general rules that govern writing verbs in the past, present, and future tenses, but that there are many, many exceptions to these rules. Encourage your children to find exceptions and describe how they are different. The best way for children to learn irregular verbs is to read and expose themselves to different kinds of writing.

Writers use the present tense to describe events that are happening at the moment. For the pronouns he and she, add s or es to the end of the verb to make it present tense as in jumps, hopes, wishes, and touches. You do not have to add s or es when using present verbs with the pronouns I, you, we, and they, as in “You jump in the pool” or “We play on the beach.” We recommend watching the Nouns movie together as a review.

Writers use the past tense to describe events that have already happened. These events may have happened hundreds of years ago or just minutes before. To show the past tense, you usually add ed or d to the end of a verb, as in walked, touched, hiked, and poked. Remind students that some verbs require adding another consonant, as in hopped, fanned, and jammed. There are many verbs with irregular past tenses such as took, found, felt, swam, tried, ran, and fell.

Writers use the future tense to describe events that will happen. These events can happen in a second or minute or can happen thousands of years from now. To show the future tense, you can add the word will before the verb, as in “I will play football,” “She will buy a new bike,” and “You will bake a pie.”

Encourage your children to read and pay attention to different tenses that writers use to show time. Together find irregular verbs and discuss them in class. Have students practice writing sentences with these verbs and editing each other’s paragraphs to make sure tenses align.