Tips for Tutors

Tips For Tutors

Word endings can be very difficult for young children or reluctant readers. They have learned the base words, but as soon as the work becomes past tense or plural, it looks like a completely different word to some students. Here are some ideas for working with word endings. You do not need all of the materials suggested, and you can do everything on a whiteboard or paper. This will just get you started, and from here you can add your own variations.


Add an Ending, by Dr. Jean Feldman (Excerpted from Dr. Jean Feldman’s “Ready Set Read!”)

Recognizing word endings 

Materials Needed: 
Overhead projector sheets 
Permanent markers 
Poster board 

Write the following endings on the projector sheets with markers and cut out the endings. 




Write nouns and verbs similar to those listed below on the poster board. Explain to the children that you can add letters to the end of words to change their meaning.

Read the word “book.” Explain that if you have lots of them, then you should say, “books.”

Take the –s ending and add it to the end of the word. Continue to read through the list of nouns (adding –s) and have the children tell you what it says.

dog – s 

help – ing 

work – ed 

Next, read the word, jump.” But if I say, “I am jump,” it doesn’t sound right. That’s because I need to add “ing” to the end of the word. Continue to go through the list of verbs (adding “ing“) and encourage the children to read the words.

Follow a similar procedure for introducing “-ed.”


Write endings on 3″ circles of cardboard. Tape to Popsicle sticks, then add to the ends of different words.

As you read big books and other classroom print, point out different word endings. Have children identify the “root word” and the endings.”

Make a language experience chart with words and their endings. Have children underline root words and circle endings.

Make a book with singulars and plurals. Have children fold their paper in half. On one half, draw one animal or object. On the other half, draw many of the same object. Encourage the children to write labels, and make sure they add the “s.”

About Experience Corps Bay Area

Experience Corps Bay Area recruits and trains adults 50+ to tutor and mentor elementary school children, with a focus on K-3 literacy.
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