Student or Learner
In what occasions we can use "would" to talk about the past
In my opinion, 'would' can't establish any connection with the past.
Would you be kind enough to...
She wouldn't do that ...
[I am not a teacher]
She spent the last summer at Bahamas. She had a regular routine that she followed everyday. She would read newspapers in the morning. She would then walk to the beach and enjoy the scenery which she would never get to see back in her hometown.
I think this is the kind of habitual action henz988 was referring to.
The sentence, 'She would read newspapers in the morning', by itself, does not show any connection with the past, in my opinion, of course.
But don't worry, if you all say it's right, then... I have no choice.
If he were here, I would speak to him.
and the other, denoting habitual past actions, its past indicative.
Since they are identical in form, some kind of modifier or contextual indicator is obviously necessary to distinguish them, but 'would' in this latter use is every bit as much a past tense as is 'put' in
I put the book down on the table and went upstairs.
, despite the fact that, without the second clause, we are equally unable to infer its tense.