How to Teach the Rules for Using Have, Had, and Has in Speech Therapy

“Why is my student completely omitting has, have, and had in her speech”, I mused to myself during an evaluation. This needs to be worked on, but how do I teach the rules for using has, have, and had in a way that will help my student learn?

As I pondered this question, I began to realize that WOW this was a tricky skill! My brain began to swirl as it categorized all of the “rules” of correctly using has, have, and had.

I grabbed a strong cup of coffee and began to write down the linking and auxiliary verb rules. I needed a visual to help me know exactly where to begin teaching. Here is a graphic I came up with as I started making a game plan to teach this grammatical skill.

 I think it does an excellent job breaking down the grammatical rules for has, have, and had but,YIKES it is a mess to sort through!

How do we TEACH the rules for has, have, and had in a way that our student LEARNS?

My days of doing rote drills forever and *hoping* my student will just somehow “get it” are gone. I need a strategy before I start teaching any skill.

Step 0: Creating homework.

We all know that repetition is the key to learning. I love having corresponding homework that relates to what we did in speech therapy that day. I knew I wanted to create something similar as I taught this skill. I made sure that for each worksheet I had a print-and-go homework activity on hand that I could easily slide into my student’s speech folder and send home.

Step 1: Recognize the sight words has, have, and had

As with all of my teaching guides, I start by peeling back the layers of the targeted skill to its foundational level. For this skill, I wanted my students to first be able to recognize and read these as sight words. This has three benefits:

  • Starting here will provide you with a written cue later on in the process,
  • It supports early readers in the classroom,
  • It is a good way to introduce and pre-teach the skill we are about to learn.

Step 2: Past, Present, and Future

You can’t correctly use have, has, and had if you don’t understand the difference in past, present, and future. I like to spend a couple of sessions helping my students understand this foundational concept before we move on.

Step 4: Teach the Rules

Once the foundation has been laid, I begin explicitly teaching the rules for using have, had, and has. (Remember that graphic organizer?)

Step 5: Strategic Practice

I created a series of different worksheets to expose my speech therapy students to these concepts in a variety of different ways. I also made sure each worksheet we do in class, has a homework companion as well. Most of my students working on this are emerging readers, so, I strategically chose CVC and other sight words as the primary text on my worksheets. I did this to reinforce reading skills, promote independence, while also working on auxiliary verbs.

I also wanted my worksheets to be scaffolded in difficulty. My goal here is to move towards independence as the student practices the task. The worksheets start with us working on the skill together, and ends with the student generating sentences using have, has, and had independently.

This is teaching for helping speech therapists strategically teach the auxiliary verbs has, have, and had in speech therapy.

Now that you know how I teach has, had, and have in my speech therapy lessons, how does it compare to your lessons? When I was a brand-new speech therapist, I had no clue to how to teach this tricky skill!

If that is you (even if you aren’t brand new), I want to share this strategy with you. I even made teaching guides for is and are and the time prepositions! I want you to feel confident as you tackle hard things so that your students can flourish under your instruction! 

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