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ARRRRR! It's Time to Learn R and /r/!

The R Phoneme

Don't let the title fool you, while the name of letter R sounds like "AR", its sound is actually /r/. Okay, I admit that the /r/ doesn't tell you much about how letter R should sound!

The /r/ consonant sound is one of the tougher sounds to make in English. You may see the R sound written as "RUH" sometimes, and you might even hear someone incorrectly pronounce it as "RUH". At the same time, the /r/ sound is not made by curling the tongue all the way back.

To make the proper /r/ sound, your tongue pulls back a bit inside your mouth, and raises slightly. The sides of your tongue will touch the inside of your top teeth on both sides (the molars), and the front of your tongue is not touching anything. The corners of your mouth pull together and slightly rounds out the shape of your mouth.

Try making the /rrrrrr/ sound with these words.

RUN - /r/ /u/ /n/ (Don't say it as RUH-UN)

ROB - /r/ /o/ /b/

RIB - /r/ /i/ /b/

Learning Activity for /r/

  1. Show the letter R to your child and demonstrate how to make the proper /r/ sound - remember, it's not "RUH".
  2. Let your child practice making the /r/ sound.
  3. Work on the R sound with the above word list, and put some emphasis on /r/, and stretch it out a bit. /rrrrr/
  4. Have your child identify all the /r/ sounds in each of the words listed above.
  5. Work on the letter R worksheet below.
  6. Read the rhyme below.

Letter R Worksheets

Worksheet for /r/ sound. 


Letter R Rhyme and Song

Little Red Riding Hood sat in a boat.

She sang:

Row row row your boat, all the way to grandma's house.

Merrily, merrily, merrily, I hope the wolf is not out and about.

The wolf sang:

Little Red Riding Hood, row row row your boat,

all the way to my house.

We'll have dinner and make a nice roast.

Little Red Riding Hood panicked.

She rowed as fast as ever, and sang:

Row row row your boat, as fast as you could.

Get to grandma's house, or I'll end up being the roast.