Cart 0

Tips to teach the "r" sound

One of the most popular sounds in speech therapy is the /r/ sound. Many of the children that we work with have difficulty producing this sound correctly, and it is one of the hardest sounds to teach! In this post, I want to share some "tricks" I use to teach this sound:

1. Make sure the child is developmentally capable of producing the sound. I usually do not work on the /r/ sound with children younger than 5 years of age. 

2. Usually, children substitute the /r/ with a /w/. We want to make sure the child can differentiate between those sounds. To do so, I use minimal pairs (pairs of words that differ in only one phoneme) like these ones:

speech therapy activities

I present one minimal pair (i.e. wok/rock) by labeling the two words. Then I say one word and I ask the child to point to it. I usually target each pair 3 times. 

3. Once the child can perceive the difference between the /r/ and the /w/, we move into production. HERE IS MY TRICK to teach the /r/ sound. First I model the steps, and then I ask the child to follow them:

     1. Make the /l/ sound

     2. Move your tongue back, following your palate (the roof of your mouth)

     3. Round your lips, like an "o"

I usually ask the child to hold a mirror while completing the exercise. I start by modeling the sound in isolation, and then initial /r/ in single words. I make sure to start with words that have a rounded sound after the /r/ like rock, rose, robot, etc. Then I move on to final /r/ in single words, and the medial /r/ in single words. Once the child can say the sound in all positions in single words (independently), I move into phrases, sentences, and then to conversational speech.

I hope these "tricks" work for you! They have done magic for most of my patients!

If you liked what you read, join us in our Facebook group: Resources for bilingual children with speech delays, where we will be sharing activities and materials to promote speech and language development.

Also, don't forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel, and to like us on Facebook!

*Parents: please note that these techniques were not share with the intention to substitute speech therapy. If your child has difficulty producing speech sounds, please refer to a speech therapist in your area for help.


Yael Herszkopf Mayer MS, CCC-SLP is a pediatric, bilingual (English/Spanish) Speech and Language Pathologist and the creator of Learning with Yaya. She received her Masters of Science degree in Speech and Language Pathology- Bilingual Extension from Teachers College, Columbia University, and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Clinical Psychology from Universidad de Iberoamérica in Costa Rica. 

Older Post Newer Post

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published