Teaching First Grade Words with -ING Ending and -ING Suffix Rules

Purpose of the -ING Suffix

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When you add -ING to the end of a word, you change its tense to the present participle. This suffix can be used to change a standard verb into a verbal adjective to describe the present action of the noun. Words with the -ING suffix can also be used as adjectives. Lessons about the -ING suffix are first taught in the first grade for most students.

First Grade Words

The Dolch list for first grade includes 41 words, some of which can use the -ING suffix. The list is also available in a flash card format. Using flash cards is one way to help teach first grade words. The Dolch word list includes service words, such as adjectives, adverbs, pronouns, verbs, conjunctions and prepositions. Service words are words that cannot be taught through the use of pictures.

Some of the first grade words with the -ING ending include asking, flying, opening, putting, knowing, giving and thinking. The only word on the list that includes the -ING suffix originally is “giving.” The rest require students to use the English grammar rules for adding -ING. This allows first graders to take the base word and turn it into a new word, just by adding a suffix.

The full list of base words, along with the -ING counterpart, on the first grade Dolch list which can use the -ING suffix include the following:

ask – asking

fly – flying

give – giving

know – knowing

let – letting

live – living

open – opening

put – putting

round – rounding

stop – stopping

take – taking

thank – thanking

think – thinking

walk – walking

Rules of Adding -ING

To make it easier to learn when and how to use the -ING suffix, there are several standard rules that work on all words. The most complicated rule to follow is when to double the final consonant.

Double Final Consonant – When a verb ends in the consonant, vowel, consonant combination, double the last consonant. The only exception to this rule is when the the last syllable of the word is not stressed. For instance, the word “put” would require you to double the final consonant. However, the word “open” does not stress the final syllable. The result for “put” would be “putting,” while “open” would be “opening.”

Remove the -E – When a verb ends in a consonant followed by -e, remove the last -e of the word. For instance, the word “give” requires you to first remove the letter -e before adding the -ING suffix. “Give” becomes “giving” after the rule is applied.

Words Ending In -IE – When the base verb ends in -ie, you must first remove the -ie and replace it with -y before adding the -ING suffix. For instance, the word “vie” must be changed to “vy” before adding the suffix. “Vie” then becomes “vying.”

No Changes Required – When the base word does not meet any of the above situations, add -ING to the word without any other changes. For instance, the word “think” would become “thinking.” The word “walk” would become “walking.”


  • Image Credits: Marcia's Lesson Plans: http://www.marcias-lesson-links.com/KidWriting.html
  • English Club – http://www.englishclub.com/writing/spelling_add-ing.htm
  • About Special Ed – http://specialed.about.com/od/literacy/a/dolch.htm
  • KidZone Dolch List -http://www.kidzone.ws/dolch/grade1.htm