Teaching the Parts of Speech

The best way to teach parts of speech to kids is to make it interesting and fun. When your students are enjoying an activity and learning about parts of speech it is a win-win situation. Take a look at this quick teacher's guide to teaching the parts of speech, and see if they don't make your students want to learn more.

Pretests for Assessment

In order to get an idea of how much your students, as a whole, already know about parts of speech, give them a pretest to assess their knowledge. This test can be multiple choice, true/false, or even a typed paragraph where the students have to underline and label the parts of speech that they see. This will give you direction on what kind of lessons would benefit the majority of your students.

Acrostic Poems

This activity is done by listing a word that has to do with a particular topic down a sheet of paper instead of across. Students must then use various parts of speech, such as nouns, adjectives, verbs, and adverbs to create a poem out of the given word.
Here is an example:

S Snow is falling (noun, verb)

N neatly in a huge pile (adverb, adjective, noun)

O over my toy truck and (adjective, noun)

W water gun, as it quietly covers them in a cold blanket. (noun, adverb, verb, adjective, noun)

Once the students write their poem, they have to identify the parts of speech used.

Mad Libs Teacher Edition

Create a Mad Libs story on a huge piece of paper that you can hang on your whiteboard. Leave out the parts of speech. Instead of you writing the missing words into the story, let the students come up to the board and write them in for you. This will give them the chance to participate more with the story, and will help them think of words on their own.

Picture Perfect

Have two boxes, one labeled "Nouns" and one labeled "Adjectives." Write a noun on an index card, and have one card for each student in your class. Places the nouns in their appropriate box. Now write at least 10 extra adverbs on index cards, and place them in the box (e.g., 30 students = 30 noun cards and 40 adjective cards). Make the words interesting and fun for the students. Now have a student come up and take a noun card and an adjective card and draw a picture on the whiteboard that combines the two words together (e.g., sleepy mailman - draw a mailman with his eyes shut). To guess correctly, a student has to say both the noun and the adjective(s) being used in the picture.

Parts of Speech Charades

This activity is played much like "Picture Perfect" above, but instead of students drawing their combinations of nouns-adjectives they have to act them out in front of the classroom. You can use this with verb-adverb combinations as well. In order for the next student to take a turn, he/she has to guess both parts of speech correctly.

The Book I Choose

Take a trip to the school library. Have each student pick out a book that they like to read, or a book by an author that they consider their favorite. Take the books back to the classroom. Now have the students go through the book (pick a chapter, for instance) and identify the parts of speech of that the book/author uses. Is there a predominant usage of certain parts of speech? Is there a pattern to the types of adjectives he/she uses in the book? Come up with other questions to ask your students to help them review parts of speech.