Adding More to My Phonics Instruction--Part 2 (freebie included)

Jul 9, 2014

Yesterday I told you all about my phonics learning but my need to change, grow, and SHOW my students how phonics really worked.

Well, I also needed to make phonics more fun (I just admitted it!)  I was not adding enough of the "fun" into phonics.  I am pretty sure they were getting bored with the routine and I certainly was.  Changes needed to happen.

That's when I learned about SCOOTs.  I am pretty sure I was late getting on the bandwagon.  That's okay.
I created what we needed at the time and have improved them as we've gone.

I even jumped out of my box  (a little) and created a place value SCOOT and a fluency SCOOT (this took a lot of thinking!)  Natalie and I were trying out the place value one and I found out that she had no idea what SCOOT was and neither did my other teammate.  So I decided to write about how I have used SCOOT and hopefully it will spur some ideas (or suggestions) that you might have!!

Step 1:
Looking at the skill and how I wanted my students to work on it.  Some of the games I created just have the students add one particular vowel sound, while other games have them choose between vowel patterns.

Step 2:
Set-up.  For a SCOOT game, you need one answer sheet for each student.  You also need enough skill cards.  Here is what they look like:

There should be the same amount of skill cards as kids in your class.  If there are more than 20 kids, I make extra cards with the blank sheets I include.  If there are less than 20 kids, I just subtract some cards.

Step 3:
Set up the kids.  I place one skill card on each desk.  I give each student one answer sheet.  Then they stand up behind their desk.  We talk about how the skill card on their desk has a number on it.  That same number is on their answer sheet and that is where they need to write the answer.  (I make them circle the first number that they start on).

Step 4:
Directions.  I write on the board what the phonics skill is that we are working on with this particular game.  Sometimes they have to choose between phonics patterns by looking at the word.

I always explain to them that after they write the word on their answer sheet, they are to read the word aloud.  This is my primary goal with our phonics SCOOTS.  Can they read the word?  Many times they will read it to a student standing next to them or to me as I walk around.

Step 5:
Get started!  Students look at the skill card.  Decide which vowel pattern to add.  Then they write the word on their answer sheet, not the skill card (I have done lots of erasing!)  Here are two examples:

Once they have had enough time to write and read, I say, "SCOOT!"  And they rotate.

Step 6:
Finishing up.  Once they have completed all the skill cards, I like to have them partner read the words quickly.  I have also started adding a sort component to some of the SCOOT games.  They have to cut out the words and sort them by vowel pattern.

Additional Ideas:
I had so much fun with the phonics SCOOTs that I tried out a place value one and a fluency (with nursery rhymes) one.  They actually turned out really well.  I was super, super nervous about the fluency one because it took some thoughtful planning and set-up.  But it was great (capital G-great) practice for them.

I look forward to making some more of these fluency SCOOTS as the new year come around.  It is just a matter of finding the texts I want to use :)

Here are the SCOOTS I have made so far:

I thought it might be helpful to make a FREEBIE so that you could try one out with your class. Find out if the phonics SCOOTs are helpful or just too easy.  Let me know what you think!! Suggestions for how we use SCOOT or ideas of more games that I could try to use with my kids!

You can see this freebie here:


  1. It does seem like a really fun way to practice phonics! I can see the kiddos really enjoying an activity like that. Thanks for sharing! :)

    Not Just Child's Play

  2. Em, Fantastic description of using Scoots!!! I definitely excited about them now! Thanks for sharing the info and the links to your store!! Have a great day.

    Mrs. Bartel’s School Family

  3. Hi Em- I love that you and your team mate are trying something new. That's fun for the kids, but as you mentioned, it's also fun for the teacher. Your scoot phonics practice looks great. The only suggestion I have, and maybe this doesn't apply to your students, is to have an illustration of the word on the card. My class is made up of at least 60% English learners. The illustration would help those students not only come up with the word, but help with vocabulary. Once again, I always appreciate your creativity and generosity. I learn so much from your posts!

  4. Yes..Scoot offers many rewards and many options to integrate curricular areas. Wonderful post. Smiles and stop by anytime!

  5. I love the addition of the word sort at the end!
    Not very fancy

  6. I discovered scoots a couple of years ago, but I'm embarrassed to say that I have never tried them. Last year my class was sort of unsettled with all of the changing that was going on. I will have to try it out with my third graders. I think I'll try to make an Oklahoma Symbols Scoot...maybe today! Thanks for the inspiration!
    I'm Not Your Grandpa, I'm Your Teacher

  7. I just discovered scoot games this year too, and my second graders LOVED them! I mostly have Math-related ones though so I am going shopping in your store SOON!

  8. Wow! You have a very thorough post here. Thanks for sharing!

  9. I am new at this Maniac Monday gig. I hope I did it correctly. I am anxious to add this to our Controlled R unit. What fun it will be to play! Many thanks!!


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