22 Strategies to Teach Learners to Use Subject-Verb Agreement While Writing

Are you looking for strategies to teach students to use subject-verb agreement while writing? If so, keep reading.

1. Create a list of those verbs the student most commonly uses incorrectly. This list will become the guide for learning activities in subject-verb agreement.

2. Get the student to finish written worksheets on which they must supply the correct verb forms to go with specific subjects (e.g., “He __ the dishes.”).

3. Teach the student that various forms of verbs go with various subjects and that correct subject-verb agreement requires an appropriate verb form. Get the student to practice matching verbs to lists of subjects.

4. Make sure the student receives instruction in subject-verb agreement for those subject-verb combinations they commonly have difficulty writing correctly.

5. Daily, examine those skills, ideas, tasks, etc., that have been previously introduced.

6. Teach the student the concept of subject and verb by demonstrating through the use of objects, images, and/or written sentences (depending on the student’s abilities).

7. Acknowledge quality work (e.g., display the student’s work, congratulations).

8. Exhibit appropriate subject-verb agreement when speaking, so the student learns appropriate subject-verb agreement through oral channels.

9. Get the student to be a peer tutor to teach a concept they have learned to another student as reinforcement.

10. Give a review of standard subject-verb agreement rules through a chart posted in the classroom (e.g., cows run, a cow runs, etc.).

11. Give the student an increased chance for help or assistance on academic tasks (e.g., peer tutoring, instructions for work sent home, frequent interactions, etc.).

12. Teach the student the concept of plurality (e.g., have the student “point to an image of a cat” and “point to an image of cats”).

13. Minimize the emphasis on competition. Competitive learning activities may cause the student to hurry and make errors in subject-verb agreement.

14. Do not require the student to learn more information than they are capable of learning at any time.

15. Praise the student for using appropriate subject-verb agreement when writing: (a) give the student a concrete reward (e.g., privileges such as leading the line, handing out learning materials, 10 minutes of free time, etc.) or (b) give the student an informal reward (e.g., praise, handshake, smile, etc.).

16. Make the student proofread their written work for subject-verb agreement. Praise the student for correcting all errors.

17. Teach the student that sentences express thoughts about a subject and what that subject is or does.

18. Provide the student specific verb forms and have them supply appropriate subjects to go with each.

19. Present the student images of people, places, or things. Ask them to make a statement about each image. Get the student to find the subject and verb of the oral sentence and tell whether they agree.

20. Consider using one of the apps on one of our best writing apps lists:

The Tech Edvocate’s List of 31 Grammar & Writing Apps, Tools & Resources

Ten Apps to Help Learners Develop Writing Skills

10 of the Best Grammar and Writing Apps for Elementary School Learners

11 of the Best Grammar and Writing Apps for High School Learners

10 of the Best Grammar and Writing Apps for Middle School Learners

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