R Controlled Vowels Worksheet Speech Homework

One popular theory for correcting articulation disorders is to isolate sounds and work on correcting the sound in isolation. The basic sound, or phoneme, is selected as a target for treatment. Usually the position of the sound within a word is considered and targeted. That is, does the sound appear in the beginning of the word, middle, or end of the word (initial, medial, or final).

Take for example, correction of an “S” sound (lisp). Most likely, a speech-language pathologist (SLP) would employ exercises to work on “Sssssss.” Starting practice words would most likely consist of “S-initial” words such as “say, sun, soap, sip, sick, said, sail.” According to this protocol, the SLP slowly increases the complexity of tasks (context of pronunciations) as the production of the sound improves. Examples of increased complexity could include saying words in phrases and sentences, saying longer multi-syllabic words, or increasing the tempo of pronunciation.

Using this methodology, the SLP achieves success with his/her student by targeting a sound in a phonetically consistent manner. Phonetically consistent means that a target sound is isolated at the smallest possible level (phoneme, phone, or allophone) and that the context of production must be consistent. Consistency is critical, because factors such as the position within the word, grouping with other sounds (vowels or consonants), and the complexity all may affect production.

The repetition of consistent contexts allows the student to align all the necessary processes required to properly produce language; language skills (ability to formulate correct sounds in the brain: What sounds do I need to make?), motor planning (voicing and jaw and tongue movements: How do I produce the sound?), and auditory processing (receptive feedback: Was the sound produced correctly? Do I need to correct?). A student with an articulation disorder has a deficiency in one or more of these areas. To correct the deficiency,adjustments have to be made in one or more of these processes. The process to correct it is more often than not, trial and error. With so many factors, however, isolating the variables (the sound) is really imperative to getting to the end result faster.

Phonetically consistent is essentially practicing the same thing over and over. What is practiced is consistent and does not change. The words might change, but the phoneme and its positioning is the same (say, sip, sill, soap, …). Thus, successful correction (of the disorder) is found in manipulating or changing the other factors involved with speech production (tongue positioning, cerebral processing, etc.). Once a successful result (speech) is achieved, then consistent practice becomes essential to reinforcing correct productions.

The /r/ Phoneme

The /r/ phoneme is an unusual sound. It’s overwhelmingly categorized and treated like a consonant. However, in the post-vocalic position, when /r/ comes after a vowel (after a, e, i, o, u), it takes on vocalic properties. This phenomena is recognized as a unique subset known as vocalic r, vowel r, or r-controlled vowel.

Interestingly, there is a certain degree of uncertainty, inconsistency and messiness to vocalic r and how it’s been addressed in speech-language pathology through the years. Vocalic r’s uniqueness has been generally recognized, but agreement on what exactly constitutes vocalic r and how it should be classified, evaluated, and treated has not been achieved.Vocalic r is an exception. Exceptions are hard to deal with when organizing protocols, postulating grand theories, or developing products. Where does it fit in? And how? For the most part, /r/ has been treated consonantally, lumped together with b, c, d, and the rest. This is the cause of much of the problem with /r/.

To really understand /r/, we need to peel away the layers disguising the root cause of an articulation disorder. This is the foundation behind treating /r/ with a phonetically consistent approach.

Breaking down /r/ into its most basic component or allophone, enables the SLP to address the root sound. Once isolated, the target intervention sound can be determined for treatment unmasked by other conflicting, confusing, or complicating sounds. Can the patient produce the sound? Are there some combinations of sounds (consonant-vowel, vowel-consonant) that the patient has some success or difficulty with?

Looking critically at /r/ shows that there are numerous phonetic variations. At least eightdistinct phonemes exist:

  • AR as in car
  • AIR as in software
  • EAR as in beer
  • ER as in butter
  • IRE as in tire
  • OR as in seashore
  • RL as in girl
  • Prevocalic R as in rain


Taking into account word positions (initial, medial, and final) and combinations (blends)reveals that there are 21 vocalic combinations and as many as 32 different allophonic types of /r/: prevocalic r, er initial, er medial stressed, er medial unstressed, er final, ar initial, ar medial, ar final, air initial, air medial, air final, ear initial, ear medial, ear final, ire initial, ire medial, ire final, or initial, or medial, or final, medial/final rl, br, kr, dr, fr, gr, pr, spr, str, shr, tr, and thr.

Does that mean that a child must master or be taught all these allophones? No. But, understanding that a variety of /r/’s exist provides tremendous insight into both evaluationand treatment. To get a complete picture for /r/, an evaluation must test the full range of potential sounds. This is one of the many causes of frustration with /r/: Most evaluation tools do not address ALL possible combinations of /r/. This creates an incomplete snapshot of a patient’s ability and misleads clinicians on where to begin therapy. To get the best picture, having more distinct sounds to check is obviously more complete than a test that only checks three sounds (initial, medial and final). The more information gathered, the more information the clinician will have to use in determining a personalized treatment strategy.

The results of a full spectrum /r/ evaluation tell the clinician which phonemic /r/ words the student can produce and those which they cannot produce correctly. Most children deemed to have /r/ problems can, in fact, say several or even many /r/’s correctly. The context of their production is important.

Allophones that are correctly produced provide significant information:

  • Is there one (or two) word positions (allophones) within a phonemic variation that are correct (i.e., army {ar initial} and barn {ar medial} are correct, but star{ar final} is not)? This indicates that success may be achieved with the incorrect allophone because the other allophones (word positions) within the phoneme family were correct. Basically the sounds are similar and thus should more easily transfer. (Thus, in the example, ar final could be selected as the starting intervention treatment target.).

    Is one word position correct within a phonemic variation? Yes, then the clinician knows he/she can employ a variety of treatment techniques, such as co-articulation and whisper techniques, to “tease” out the other word positions. For example, use a correctly produced cart to get a correct car, simply by whispering and dropping off the “t;” cart, car-t, car—t, car.

  • Practicing words with correctly produced allophones, improves the confidence of students, thus positively influencing motivation. This is important when students get frustrated and discouraged.
  • Know which allophones not to practice. If a sound is correct, don’t waste time practicing it; spend the time on the allophones that they need to make progress on.

Incorrectly produced allophones provide the following information:

  • Know which words to target for intervention. Work on the sounds that need improvement.
  • Know which words to avoid at first. If a complete phoneme is incorrect (e.g., [er] in all word positions). Work on other sounds first. Tackle the easiest obtained sounds first, build success and confidence, allow generalization to occur, and then address the harder, more difficult sounds.

With this detailed information the SLP will have the information to zero in on only one or just a few allophone(s) to start treatment. If several options are present, select only a single allophone to start with (e.g., [or] final).

A phonetically consistent remediation regimen should focus on consistent practice of only one allophone (i.e., door, store, more, floor, pour, etc.) until success is attained. Once successful, the SLP should then re-evaluate. Generalization of other non-treated allophones will probably occur. Reselect a single interve ntion target and repeat.

Christine Ristuccia is the founder and president of Say It Right. (www.sayitright.org) and the author of many books including the award winning /r/ remediation program The Entire World of R. 

Phonetic Consistency and /r/

by Christine Ristuccia, M.S., CCC-SLP

Treating /r/? I bet you have a few choice words to say concerning the subject. Every speech-language pathologist (SLP) has their own stories (and frustrations). Understanding where to start; how to conduct treatment; and, how to determine progress, are the key problems vexing clinicians. It’s not uncommon for students to be enrolled for years in speech services to receive treatment for an /r/ articulation disorder. SLPs consistently rank treating /r/ as one of their most difficult and frustrating tasks. So what’s a better way?

150+ Vocalic R Words, Phrases, Sentences, and Reading Passages

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Take the Confusion out of Teaching Multiple Meaning Words

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Vocalic -AR Phrases and Sentences

Vocalic -AR Reading Paragraph

Farm Life

When you live on a farm, your day starts early in the morning. The alarm goes off around 4 a.m. It is always dark outside when we wake up, but the stars are pretty to look at.

Some days it feels like your heart needs a jump start. My dog, Barney, helps me wake up by licking my face. Sometimes he will bark at me too. He makes a great guard dog.

Once we get our hearts going, we go downstairs and eat a big breakfast. When breakfast is over, we pick up the yard a little and head to the barn. Working in the barn is like being in the army, there are a lot of rules to stay safe. The barn is quiet in the mornings.

When morning chores are finished it is time for lunch. After lunch we work with the crops until dinner. After dinner we relax from a hard day's work. We like to look at the stars, play marbles and cards, and sometimes we take a ride in the car. Then we go to bed and get ready to do it all again in the morning. 

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Vocalic -AIR Phrases and Sentences

Vocalic -AIR Reading Paragraph

Sheriff of Fairview

Gary was the Sheriff of Fairview. He had lived in Fairview his whole life. His parents and grandparents had lived in Fairview their whole lives too. Gary knew everyone. He remembered that his scariest nightmare was about living somewhere else and not knowing anyone.

Fairview was a town where Gary had experienced a lot of "firsts" in his life. It was where he shot his first arrow, ran his first marathon, saw his first bear, and bought his first parrot. He was even married in the Fairview town square.

Every year, Fairview held its annual fair. It was some of the best fun the town members had all year. They often shared their stories with each other from years before.

During last year's fair, Gary warned everyone to beware of the bear around the town. It had been looking for food and wandered into the town square right during the fair. It scared a lot of people, luckily no one got hurt.

That was the first call Gary received as the new sheriff. He was able to make enough noise and use a chair to scare the bear away after he got to the town square. It was one of the more memorable town fairs in Fairview's history. 

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Vocalic -ER Phrases and Sentences

Vocalic -ER Reading Paragraph

Favorite Teacher

My science teacher, Mr. Kerr, is my most favorite teacher in the world. Every class period we do the coolest experiments. We have made paper planes, studied what spiders eat for dinner, learned the molecular differences between dirt and butter, and looked at germs under a microscope.

At first, most of our class was nervous to do all of these crazy things, but after studying butter and dirt we were amazed at how cool science is. We told Mr. Kerr our concerns and he reassured us if we would give the experiments a chance, we wouldn't be sorry.

Mr. Kerr is dedicated too. Last year he hurt his shoulder playing basketball. He had to have surgery on it and I'm sure he was in a lot of pain. He didn't care though. He still came to school and taught our class how to make a liquid into a solid by stirring specific materials together. Then he had us climb a ladder and pour it off onto the floor.

He also likes to surprise our class with opportunities to learn. During November, we had a lesson about what has to happen to a turkey before we can eat it. The class thought it would be gross, and some of it was, but we learned a lot about the process. The girl next to me and I agree that we will miss Mr. Kerr's science class. 

Articulation Therapy + Pirate Adventures = Awesomeness!

Vocalic -EAR Phrases and Sentences

Vocalic -EAR Reading Paragraph

Bearded Storyteller

The man with the beard had traveled everywhere. He had amazing stories that he would tell to people passing by on the pier. He had trouble hearing so you had to speak up to ask him questions.

He told stories about jobs he had. He was a cashier in Bosnia, a chandelier salesman in Denmark, and a spear sharpener at a museum in Australia. He had the chance to steer a boat in the Baltic Sea, go inside the pyramids in Egypt, and took a picture near the Mona Lisa in Paris.

He had pictures of lots of weird things he had seen all along the way. During his travels he had bought souvenirs at every place he had visited. He had a two way mirror from Nepal, a special wheat cereal from Dubai, a small gladiator spear from Rome, and some pruning shears from Rio de Janeiro that never needed to be sharpened.

He had traveled for years and seen many beautiful places. At the end of his stories he would tell listeners that he only had one regret. Then he would say how he wished he wouldn't have done all of his traveling alone.

Then he would encourage his listeners to find someone special to share their experiences with. People would often cheer because they liked what they learned from him. 

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Vocalic -IRE Phrases and Sentences

Vocalic -IRE Reading Paragraph

Vampire Jeweler

Megan was a vampire from Ireland. But she wasn't a typical vampire. She didn't hurt people or fight with anyone. She made sapphire jewelry. She used pliers, silver wire, and beautiful sapphires and other gems to make bracelets, rings, and earrings. Many people admired her work and she had buyers from all over the world who bought her jewelry.

Since vampires don't sleep and don't get tired, Megan had lots of time to make the jewelry. She would sit by a campfire, listen to her favorite choir, and make jewelry all night long.

One day when she was in town getting groceries, she saw a flyer posted in the store. The flyer stated that a person in her town had a fire in their bedroom and all of their belongings had been burned. It also said they had lost all of their jewelry in the fire and they wanted to hire someone to make them new jewelry.

Megan called the number on the flyer. She told the woman on the other end that she wanted to help her replace the jewelry she lost. The woman was grateful and hired Megan right over the phone.

Megan went to work making many new pieces of sapphire jewelry for the woman. Four days later, Megan visited the woman to show her all of the new jewelry.

A fireman had been to visit the woman to talk about how the fire had been started in her bedroom. The fireman told the woman that she was very lucky that the fire had not caught the rest of the house on fire. Megan went in and sat down on the woman's couch to show her the jewelry. The woman was very happy with the jewelry Megan made for her.

"Clean the jewelry one time each month, don't wear them for more than eight days without taking them off, and never put them in the dryer. That would melt the wire," said Megan, giving the woman instructions. The woman agreed, thanked Megan for her hard work, and Megan went home to finish making more jewelry. 

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Vocalic -OR Phrases and Sentences

Vocalic -OR Reading Paragraph

Storm Chasing

Jordan has a cool but dangerous job. He is a storm chaser. He never gets bored. A few times per month, he and his four person crew jump in their cars and chase tornadoes. Jordan wasn't always interested in storms though, he has an interesting story about why he became a storm chaser.

He grew up farming corn with his mom and dad. He rode horses, played sports, and was a typical kid. When he was 17 years old, a tornado touched down in the city he lived in. It traveled four miles south of town and wiped out his family's farm.

Jordan and his family hid in their storm cellar and were not hurt from the tornado, but the tornado destroyed everything his family had. His family was poor for a few years following the tornado while he and his family looked for ways to earn money. Jordan made doors, worked at the grocery store, and even sold popcorn to make money to pay for food.

It was a hard time for Jordan and his family. As a result, Jordan decided to go to college to become a meteorologist. He studied weather and weather patterns. He wanted to learn how tornadoes moved so that he could warn people when they were coming.

About one year ago, all of his hard work paid off when he received funding for his research. Many storm chasers don't make much money, but Jordan didn't care about that. He had lived without a lot of money. Jordan wanted to help people. He was excited about how the money he received would help gather enough information to help more people in the future.

If you find this list helpful...

...you would also be interested in our R word list.

This list of functional words was professionally selected to be the most useful for a child or adult who has difficulty with producing the "Vocalic R" sound.

We encourage you to use this list when practicing at home.

Doing home practice will help your child make much faster progress toward correct production.

Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs) are only able to see students/clients 30-60 mins (or less) per week.

This is not enough time for your child to overcome an articulation disorder with the "Vocalic R" sound. But with high caseloads...

...it's all SLPs can do.

There's only so much time in the day.

Every day that your child goes without practice it becomes more and more difficult to correct an "Vocalic R" error because he/she continues to say it incorrectly. 

NEW! The Last Set of Flashcards You'll Ever Need!

We know life is busy, but if you're reading this you're probably someone who cares about helping their loved one as much as you can.

Practice 5-10 minutes whenever you can, but try to do it on a consistent basis (daily).

Please, please, please use this list to practice.

It will be a great benefit to you and your loved one's progress.

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Homepage > Word Lists > Vocalic R Words

alarm clock

army squad

museum art

loud bark

fast car

shuffle cards

dark night

old farm

old garbage

white garlic

security guard

play the harp

red heart

glass marble

shiny star

start running

big yard

yarn basket

He pushed the button on the alarm.

The soldiers in the army stood at attention.

You can see art at the museum.

The dog's bark is scary.

The car is fast.

We will play a game with cards.

It was dark, but the moon was out.

Every summer he visited his grandparents on the farm.

Take the garbage out today.

My food needs garlic.

The guard watched the hallway.

She has played the harp for years.

He is holding a red heart.

I found a marble on the floor.

The star was hanging on the tree.

It was the start of the race.

I work in my yard a lot.

I have many different colors of yarn.

one arrow

asparagus bunch

hungry bear

beware of dog

wooden chair

state fair

long hair

run a marathon

married couple

sad nightmare

open parachute

happy parents

talking parrot

tasty pear

nice to share

new sheriff

square block

tear paper

She is holding an arrow.

I eat my asparagus steamed.

The bear was hunting for food.

The sign says beware of dog.

Matthew sat down on the chair.

They had fun at the fair.

She has long, pretty hair.

The marathon had 500 runners.

They are a married couple.

I had a nightmare yesterday.

He floated down using his parachute.

They love being parents.

How does a parrot talk?

Can I have a bite of your pear?

She is nice to share her ice cream.

The sheriff took the robber to jail.

A square has four sides.

Don't make me tear these papers.

butter popcorn

family dinner

shovel dirt

first place

poodle fur

dirty germs

cute girl

hurt finger

tall ladder

learn math

white paper

big purse

white skirt

big spider

stir around

classroom teacher

male turkey

whisper softly

I put butter on my popcorn.

They sat down for a family dinner.

He had a shovel full of dirt.

He won first place.

He combed the poodle's fur.

Germs are growing on the dishes.

The girl is sitting on the pink chair.

The little boy hurt his finger.

Use the ladder to reach the fruit.

They are both learning math.

Please take out a sheet of paper.

She takes her purse everywhere.

She is wearing her favorite skirt.

The spider waited for flies in the web.

I need to stir the soup.

She is our 5th grade teacher.

A turkey sounds funny when it gobbles.

She whispered into the girl's ear.

bushy beard

hospital cafeteria

grocery store cashier

bowl of cereal

crystal chandelier

loud cheer

clear ocean

small hearing aid

side view mirror

near each other

long pier

tall pyramid

metal shears

cheap souvenir

long spear

steer clear

weird hat

new year

He is not going to cut his beard.

The hungry lady is in the cafeteria.

The cashier is giving change to the customer.

Have a bowl of cereal for breakfast.

A crystal chandelier is elegant.

They did a cheer at the pep rally.

The ocean is clear and beautiful.

He puts the hearing aid in his ear.

I checked my side view mirror.

The horses are near each other.

Walk to the end of the pier.

We saw the pyramid in the desert.

He is pruning the bush with shears.

He bought a souvenir to remember his trip.

The statue is holding a spear.

He will steer in the right direction.

He is wearing a weird costume.

It is almost the end of the school year.

admire her

home buyer

roaring campfire

church choir

clothes dryer

Empire State Building

roaring fire

fireman courage

lost and found flier

new hire

see Ireland

big liar

metal pliers

sapphire ring

so tired

watchful umpire

scary vampire

barb wire

The boy and his dad admire each other.

They got a first time buyer discount on the home.

They took marshmallows to the campfire.

The choir likes to perform.

She put the clothes into the dryer.

The Empire State Building is in New York City.

The fire kept them warm.

The fireman was very brave.

They posted a lost and found flier to find their dog.

She wants to hire a new worker.

We are going on vacation to Ireland.

Her mom thought she was a liar.

Cut the wire with pliers.

The necklace has a sapphire in it.

He is tired from working hard.

The umpire called a strike.

We saw a vampire in the haunted house.

The fence had barb wire on it.

bored student

church chorus

yellow corn

front door

wood floor

thick forest

four cars

loud horn

fast horse

peel orange

butter popcorn

pour water

ocean shore

buy shorts

play sports

clothing store

rain storm

fun story

scary tornado

She was bored doing her homework.

The chorus sang beautifully.

We are having corn for dinner.

We knocked on the door three times.

The wood floor made the room look great.

Many trees are in the forest.

She will be four years old in October.

The horn is gold and shiny.

The horse is running fast.

He is going to eat the orange.

Let's eat popcorn during the movie.

Can I pour you a glass of water?

Let's go play by the sea shore.

The shorts were on sale.

You can choose to play many sports.

It was their favorite store to shop at.

It was a big lightning storm.

Mom read a story to her son.

The tornado destroyed many homes.


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