Using IPad to teach verbs and tenses

In addition to traditional speech or language therapy materials such as flash cards, toys, or books, speech and language pathologists, parents, and educators can help children master English verbs and their tenses by using iPad apps. Verbs News, an iPad app developed by Virtual Speech Center for speech/language therapy, is an example of how technology can enhance the learning process. Verbs News not only provides the users with thousands of flashcards to practice both regular and irregular verbs in the simple present, present continuous, simple past, and simple future tenses, but allows children to practice verbs or tenses by utilizing the video-recording capabilities of the iPad. The theme of this iPad app for speech/language therapy is the newsroom: users can record their own “news” and watch it in the newsroom as a reward or as a carry-over activity to practice verbs and tenses. Below, you will find different lesson plans that target verbs using some of the features of the Verbs News speech/language therapy app.

Lesson #1 – Act out the verbs

Using the video-recording feature (*HIPPA compliant) “My News” (either before or after drilling with flashcards), the speech pathologist or the instructor will video record the child (for up to 60 seconds) performing different actions as directed by the instructor, e.g., “jump, wave, close your eyes, dance, nod your head,” etc. During the recording, the instructor will ask questions in present continuous tense to practice, e.g., “What are you doing right now?” The child may then reply, “I am dancing right now.”

Once the recoding is completed, the instructor (or speech pathologist or parent) and the child can view the recording in the newsroom, and the instructor may ask the child, “What did you do?” to practice the past tense. The video recording can be paused after each acted-out verb.

This feature can also be used to practice the simple future tense. Just before the child acts out different verbs, a speech and language pathologist can ask questions in simple future tense to practice this tense, e.g., “What will you do in a moment?” The child may then reply, “I will jump.”

Lesson # 2 – Interview in the newsroom to practice different tenses

Using the video-recording feature of “My News,” the speech pathologist or instructor can video record the child in the interview format that may then be watched in the newsroom. For example, to practice the simple present tense, the speech pathologist will ask the child different questions regarding what the child usually does, e.g., “What do you usually do when you get back home from school?” or “What does your family do for Thanksgiving?”

The interview can also be used to practice the past or future tenses, e.g., “Tell me what you did last summer?” or “What will you do next summer?”

Lesson # 3 – Practicing questions in different tenses

Using the video-recording feature of “My News,” the child can practice asking questions in different tenses by interviewing his or her speech pathologist or instructor and asking different questions in the simple present, present continuous, simple past, and simple future tenses, e.g., “Mrs. Smith, where did you go last summer?” or “Mrs. Smith, what do you usually do during spring break?”

Lesson # 4 – Practicing verbs in different tenses using flashcards

Using the Verbs News iPad app for speech/language therapy, the child can practice over 190 verbs receptively and expressively with photos in three different activity types.

-          During the Auditory Bombardment activity, the child can listen to verb productions in the chosen tense. Here, a speech and language pathologist can have a teaching moment before proceeding to the next activity type.

-          During the Fill-in activity, the child will be presented with flashcards accompanied by printed textual statements with a blank for the verb that needs to be inserted. For example, “He ___ yesterday.” The child will listen to three options and choose the one that is appropriate.

-          During the Say It activity, the child will be presented with flashcards, and the speech pathologist will ask questions, e.g., “What is the boy doing right now?” The verbal response of the child will be recorded utilizing the audio-recording feature of this app to self-monitor and correct.

Enjoy this app, and if you have any more ideas on how else to use it, contact us.

Beata Klarowska, MS CCC-SLP

NOTE: *To comply with HIPAA standards and to protect the privacy of others, this app does not allow the user to save the video recordings. The user can only view and replay the video immediately after recording.

Beata Klarowska, M.S. CCC-SLP

Beata Klarowska is an American Speech Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) certified speech and language pathologist, licensed by the state of California.Beata cofounded Virtual Speech Center Inc. in 2011 and, to date, has developed more than 30 apps for speech, language, and cognition.


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