Give It A Shot: Teacher's Role - Spiral Warmups

Give It A Shot: Teacher’s Role

This Give It A Shot article was updated June 2019 along with the newly updated free word study warm-ups.

Give It A Shot is one of the first activities students do in the Word Fluency 1 unit, which focuses on basic word decoding practice for grades 2-3 and intervention in grades 3-6. It’s a straight-forward activity that gives students a risk-free opportunity to:

  1. Practice quickly decoding words.
  2. Build automaticity with consonant blends.

Give It A Shot Directions

Students will use pencil and paper (or dry erase markers) to write A, B, or C as their answer choices. We recommend showing the Give It A Shot directions video the first time you do this activity.

A quick version of the directions is also embedded in the warm-up, to remind students what’s expected in this task. Feel free to pause the video to ensure students understand the directions for the first few times.

Student Answer Pages

You could have students record their answers in/on:

  • Notebooks
  • Warm-up folders with notebook paper
  • Index cards
  • Dry erase markers

Also, you should tell them your preference on how they write their answer choices:

  • They can write the A, B, C answers all on one row of a page.
  • They could also write A, B, C answers each on a separate row.

If you’re using index cards, you may or may not need to specify where they write their answers.

Give Feedback During the Video

Giving feedback is the most important part. Let me repeat that, this is a crucial piece to successfully doing Give It A Shot. And it’s super easy to do!

There are two ways to give feedback for Give It A Shot: during the warm-up or after the warm-up.

During the Warm-Up

The benefit to this approach is that is speeds of the feedback. This could be good for advanced students. The drawback is that it could create too much time pressure for some students.

  • Tell them the answers before the next word.
  • When the timer clears the red mark, tell the students A, B, or C.
This fun word study activity builds decoding fluency and word automaticity.

After the Warm-Up

This is the slower, but more thorough method of giving feedback.

  • After the warm-up is complete, tell students the correct answers.
  • Have them write the word as you model it on the board.

Pause the Directions

During the first two times, we recommend pausing the directions for Give It A Shot. Tell students a few important reminders:

  • Have your pencil in your hand.
  • Pay close attention.
  • You only have four seconds to read the words and write your answer.
  • No talking.
  • You must choose your answer before time is up.
  • If you don’t have enough time, then we need to increase your fluency. You will get better.

Don’t be surprised when students start exclaiming, “YES!” In a positive class climate, this happens somewhere after the 3rd or 4th time doing this word study activity!

The students love trying to beat the time!


The learning benefit of spiral review occurs over time. The memory and retention build after each session.

If you’re interested in why it works, take a look at this quick research article: Why Do I Need Daily Spiral Review for Reading?

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