I'm so glad You're Here!

Added Endings Activities

We’ve all seen it happen before.  Reading is going smoothly, kids are learning new words, strategies, and reading components each day.  Then- boom! They’re introduced to added endings and the world of reading can get a bit more confusing.

Added endings (also called inflectional endings) are letters added to the end of the word that can change the base word’s meaning.  For example, “bake” becomes “bakes” or “baked” or “baking”.  As adults, this is an easy enough concept for us to understand.  But for kids, added endings can be a lot to take in.  Let’s explore the importance of added endings and why our kiddos need to learn them.  Then, stick around for my Added Endings Reading Intervention Mats that’s going to take all the worry out of planning how to teach them.  And, of course, will “add” some fun into your phonics lesson!

Why you need to teach added endings

Added endings are an important concept for students to learn because it broadens their perspective while writing.  When students get into the upper grades and begin writing longer stories and narratives, added endings are essential (actually, quite impossible to write without them).  You need to know them in order to write about point of view and perspective.  They not only change a story from past to present to future, but also pluralize nouns.  Mastering added endings makes for a skilled, versatile, and detailed writer.

Learning added endings can be tricky for some readers – especially if they tend to struggle in this realm.  It’s important that when we’re teaching added endings, we start out with basic words.  Endings of -s and -es are likely to be easier when added to CVC words.  “Cat” becomes “cats” and “fox” becomes “foxes”, for example.  Before you decide to teach added endings, check out my Scope & Sequence to ensure that students have the previous skills they need in order to master added endings.

Okay, okay – now let’s get to the fun stuff!  Here are five awesome activities that you can use in your classroom or at home to teach added endings.

Whole class and Partner activities

added endings activities


By now, you’ve likely figured out that I like to introduce any new concept together as a class with some sort of an anchor chart or sorting game.   This is a basic activity and you won’t see any reinventing of the wheel with this one.  All the same – it’s effective, and that’s what I love about activities like this one.  

First, write a list of many base words up on the board.  Next, pass out note cards to students and instruct them to write an ending on it (s, es, ed/d, or ing).  Students take turns going up to the board with their note card and putting it at the end of one of the base words to change its meaning. 

For example, if one of the base words on the board was “pack”, the student with the “-ing” card would place it by the base word to make it read “packing.”  The student with an “s” card could also have done the same thing, but will now have to find another base word to pair it with.  This game works best when students say the base word and then say the new word it forms when they add the ending.  Play continues until all base words have an added ending!


Partner activities are always fun for students, and there are so many fun ways to divide up the class into partners!  For this activity, all you’ll need are some note cards and writing utensils.  Each student gets a stack of notecards and writes down a base word on the card (consider making a list together as a class beforehand).  Then, the partners switch their note cards and they add an ending onto the base word.  After sliding it back to its original owner, the partners check each other’s work.

Another way to play this game is to write down a base word multiple times on the note card.  Partners take turns passing the notecard back and forth, adding endings to the base word.  For example, the word “race” could be written on the card three times.  Partners would slide it back and forth adding “races”, “raced”, and “racing” to the card.  For this version, teachers can come up with the base words and pass them out to partners if time allows.

Using texts for added endings practice

I love having students practice skills in context (as well as in isolation). You can easily use texts for added endings practice. Here are a few added ending activities to try out, with texts!


This specific activity will seem repetitive, but will give your students a solid understanding of why added endings are so important and how they can change the tense of a story.  With repetition, this will drive home the idea that added endings can change the setting and meaning of a story by placing it in the future, present, or past.

This activity may require just a bit of prep on your end if you want to write the short stories on your own.  Or rather, if you have shorter stories around the classroom, those can work as well.  If you decide to write your own, any small paragraph will do.  

Pass out the stories so that each student has one.  As the student reads the story, he or she will underline base words and circle added endings.  At the story’s end, students will write on the sheet of paper whether the story takes place in the past, present, or future.  Their evidence of their answer will be the underlining and circling they did throughout the story. For example, if the story reads, One Halloween night, I stepped out into the cool air.  I grabbed my broomstick and hopped on.  I zoomed past dark trees, home to upside down bats.  Students would underline “step”, “grab”, “hop” and “zoom.”  And then circle the -ed endings.  At the end, they’d conclude that the story takes place in the past.

Extension Added Endings Activity

For another variation, consider having students write their own stories and paragraphs and have a partner underline the added endings.  This is not only great added ending practice but also gives them a chance to showcase their writing skills and focus on another area or standard that you want to cover.


Being able to identify the base word with added endings is essential to mastering them.  Doing a fun base word search with a passage is a great way to ensure that students know how to find a base word amidst added endings. For this activity, simply take a fluency passage you have on hand (actually, my INSERT FLUENCY PASSAGES HERE? are the perfect fit) or other story and pass out one copy to each student.  Students can circle or highlight base words they find within the text.  For an added bonus, students can then underline the added endings to each base word.

ADDED ENDINGS reading intervention mats

 If you’re looking for an effective way to teach added endings without the prep, my Added Ending Reading Intervention Mats are going to be right up your alley!  Once you print these mats out and get them into the hands of your students, it’s easy to see why all of my Reading Intervention Mats are such a hit in the classroom!  When you purchase this activity, you’ll get 50 mats that focus on base words and their added endings.  Students will work on phonics, fluency, vocabulary, added endings, and comprehension all throughout this activity.  

By checking out my growing bundle, you’ll expose your students to these mats with each phonics activity.  With time, this activity will become a well-oiled machine within your classroom.  As your students become more and more acquainted with these mats, you’ll notice that introducing new phonics activities with them helps students learn the new skill at a quicker pace.  Teachers, interventionists, coaches, and parents alike enjoy these mats in a class setting or at home. 

These activities will make your added ending lessons a breeze.  Remember that with any activity, there’s no reason to go back to a blank drawing board.  Exercises that you’ve used before with other phonics skills can be used to teach new skills as well.  And just like my mats, repeated exposure to the same type of activity covering a different skill can enhance learning and promote confidence among students.  When students can learn a new skill through a familiar activity, the new skill becomes less intimidating. This is particularly awesome for struggling students!

Added endings can seem like you’re complicating things a bit, but it doesn’t need to feel that way.  These five activities will help your students succeed in learning added endings and help you succeed in teaching them.  And by the end, you’ll be looking at an entirely new group of writers!


If you’re looking for additional activities for added endings, check out this blog post and this resource of phonics passages with added endings!

Picture of Aylin Claahsen

Aylin Claahsen

Providing resources and support to engage all readers.

Leave a Reply

Hi, I'm Aylin!

I’m so happy you’re here! I’m a certified reading specialist who loves talking all things literacy. I have a huge passion for providing resources and support to engage all readers!


Join the List

fluency passages freebie

Fluency Freebies!

Sign up for our newsletter and receive a set of fluency passages to help you incorporate fluency into your routine.

Recent Posts