Verbs Background Information for Teachers and Parents

Grade Levels: K-3

This page contains information to support educators and families in teaching K-3 students about verbs. The information is designed to complement the BrainPOP Jr. movie Verbs. It explains the type of content covered in the movie, provides ideas for how teachers and parents can develop related understandings, and suggests how other BrainPOP Jr. resources can be used to scaffold and extend student learning.

Before beginning this topic, we recommend watching the Nouns and the Plural Nouns movies for review. This movie will explore verbs, particularly action verbs. It will also discuss subject-verb agreement. You may wish to screen part of the Tenses movie, particularly the section that addresses the present tense, to help children understand the concepts addressed in this topic.

Remind children that a verb is a word that describes an action. Some people call verbs “doing words” because they explain what happens in a sentence. Brainstorm different verbs together, such as run, dance, swim, skip, walk, hop, and jump. You may want to act out an activity and have children describe what you do using verbs. Explain that verbs tell us what happens. Remind everyone that a sentence needs a verb for it to be a complete thought or idea. For example, “the dog” is not a complete sentence. It needs a verb to show what is happening, as in “The dog barks.” Start a few incomplete sentences and have children add a verb to complete the thought or idea.

Review with children that a subject is the person, animal, place, thing, or idea that a sentence is about. An action verb is a verb that tells what the subject of a sentence is doing. Write the following sentence on the board or on a piece of paper: “The dog sleeps.” The dog is the subject of the sentence. The word “sleeps” is the verb; it tells what the dog is doing. Run through different sentences together and point out the subject and the verb. You may wish to add in a sentence that contains two verbs, such as “The dog and cat take a nap.”

Explain that when we write, we make sure the verb agrees with the subject in a sentence. Write the following sentence: “A bird sings.” What is the subject of the sentence? Guide children to identify that the subject is a bird—it is a singular subject. The verb is “sings.” Explain that when there is one subject, we usually add an s or e-s to the end of the verb that describes it. Discuss examples together, such as “Moby draws a picture” or “He catches the ball.” When there is more than one subject, we usually do not add an s or e-s, as in the sentence “Moby and Mia walk to school” or “The students match the cards.” Explore more examples of sentences that feature more than one subject.

Stress the importance of proofreading one’s writing and checking for mistakes in grammar. Children should make sure that the subject and verb agree in their sentences. They may wish to softly read their work out loud so they can make sure their sentences sound right. Guide them to be active readers and pay attention as they read. Encourage children to learn new words and use them in their writing!