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R Sound Speech Therapy {Word Search}

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If your caseload is anything like mine when I was working as a speech therapist in the elementary school setting I would say about 50% of my caseload was working on articulation. About 25% of those students were working on the r sound and r blends. That was a huge part of my caseload! I frequently got bored and tired of playing the same Go Fish game. That’s why today I’m bringing to you different r sound speech therapy activities and articulation therapy techniques to try.

Correct Sound Production

In the English language, the r sound is one of the most difficult sounds as well as one of the last sounds to develop. There are two different ways a Speech Language Pathologist can teach tongue placement for r remediation. 

First, let’s review the two different variations for tongue movements for producing the correct r sound:

  • Retroflexed R
  • Bunched R

The two different tongue positions are very similar and vary in mid-tongue and tongue tip placements:

  • Teeth: The /r/ sound is made by having a slight gap between the teeth.
  • Lips: Lips should be in a neutral position and not rounded. (A rounded lip shape might lead to a w sound in place of an /r/ sound, such as “wed” for the word “red”.
  • Sides of the Tongue: Be sure to place the sides of the tongue and back of the tongue against the upper side of your teeth to allow for the passage of air to go down the center of the tongue.
  • Tongue Placement:
    • Retroflexed Tongue Position: Have the mid-tongue somewhat tense but not bunched up. Then place the tip of the tongue pointing up to the roof of their mouth just past the alveolar ridge.
    • Bunched Tongue Position: Have the mid-tongue bunched up near the roof of the mouth. Then place the tip of the tongue pointing down or straight.
  • Air: Then blow a skinny stream of air over the center of your tongue (you do not want the air to come out the sides of the tongue).
  • Voice: The next step is that the r sound is also a voiced sound so your voice box or vocal cords should vibrate. You can tell that their voice is turned on by touching your voice box on your neck and feeling it vibrate (the upper part of the throat).

Hardest Sounds

Please keep in mind that the r sound is a later developing sound and one of the hardest aspects is teaching the complexity of speech movements. 

Teaching the right way to place the child’s tongue can be difficult and give you a hard time. 

That’s why it’s important to work closely with a licensed Speech-Language Pathologist to give you professional help when working with your child to find the right position for their tongue and to produce a great sounding r sound.

R Speech Sounds

  • Prevocalic R – is when the r sound comes before a vowel sound, such as an initial r word “red”. 
  • Vocalic R  Sound – is when the r sound comes after a vowel sound, such as: or, ar, er, ear, ire, air.

Target Word Lists

Here’s an r word list for you to use in your practice sessions or at home practice to work on your student or child’s speech.

  • For Example: run, rest, ride, rake, root, parade, tarp, harp, worm, farm, soccer, wire, weather, faster, baker

See full list of 1220+ R words at the word level, phrase level, and sentence level here. Plus this list provides words in the initial position of words, medial r words, and final r words.


Word Positions of R Words

Initial Position of Words

The initial r sound is at the beginning of the word. For example, the r sound at the beginning of a word would be “rock” or “race”.

Medial Position of Words

Some words have the r sound in the medial position of a word, such as “scared”, “tired”, and “fork”.

Final Positions of Words

The final word position is when the target sound is at the end of a word. For example, “tiger” or “star”.

Need Different Sounds?

You won’t want to miss out on my complete growing list of the most common sounds in all my articulation word lists!

SEE ALSO: 21 Best Reinforcement Games for Speech Therapy

Correct Production – Effective R Therapy

Do you have any r kids who are struggling with the incorrect production of the r sound? 

If so, here are a handful of new strategies that therapists have had great success with helping their speech students produce the tricky sound of R. 

Start with one simple program below and if that doesn’t work you can keep working through the different strategies until you find one that your student finds success with.

You can even grab a tongue depressor to use as a tactile cue to help correct speech errors.


SEE ALSO: Free Articulation Games for Speech Therapy

R Sound Speech Therapy Ideas

Below I’ve outlined some r therapy materials that can be used to make your speech therapy sessions or private speech therapy sessions planning a breeze this year. 

R Sound Speech Therapy Word Search

I’m excited to share with you today my newest freebie!

I’ve created 3 different r word searches (initial r, medial r, final r).

Each word search comes with a color version, a black-and-white version, and an answer key.

Be sure to grab your own free copy at the end of this post.

Initial R Word Search

Here is the initial r word search color version.


Here is the initial r word search black and white version.


Here is the initial r word search answer key.

Medial R Word Search

Here is the medial r word search color version.


Here is the medial r word search black and white version.


Here is the medial r word search answer key.


Final R Word Search

Here is the final r word search color version.


Here is the final r word search black and white version.


Here is the final r word search answer key.


Older Students

Finding appropriate articulation resources for older students can be difficult to find. Here are a few appropriate resources for your middle school and high school aged students. 

  • R Sound Articulation Lists by Speech Therapy Store – Grab my one page freebie of initial r words, medial r, and final r sounds with real-life photos perfect for older students working on the word, phrase, and sentence levels.
  • Interactive Flash Cards by Speech Therapy Store – Have fun using our interactive r flash cards right from your computer! We’ve included 25 flash cards for the initial r, medial r, and final r for a total of 75 interactive flash cards to use with your students or clients right from your computer. 

SEE ALSO: 279+ Free Speech Therapy Digital Materials

Young Children

If you have young children or elementary students (first grade, second grade, or 3-5th grades) on your caseload then be sure to check out these ideas below.

  • R Activities I Spy Game by Speech Therapy Store – If you’re looking for an amazing freebie and a great resource then you’re in the right spot. I’ve created a fun and engaging I Spy activity that any student is sure to love!
  • Nature-Themed Bundle by Speech Therapy Store – This bundle is a free handout that includes different language skills plus it includes 3 pages to practice the r sound in the initial, medial, and final positions.

Online Speech Therapy

  • 41+ Interactive Online Games by Speech Therapy Store – In case you haven’t seen it yet I also have a list of over 41 online speech therapy games to help you get started in teletherapy games.
  • 21 Best Reinforcement Games for Teletherapy by Speech Therapy Store – This list is one of my favorite lists. It includes online digital games, such as Mr. Potato Head, Connect Four, and Battleship just to name a few.

Boom Cards

Boom cards are the right place to go if you’re looking for a fun game to use during your therapy sessions.

Here are a few favorite boom cards to work on the r sound: 

  • 917+ Speech Therapy Boom Cards by Speech Therapy Store – I’ve compiled a complete list of over 917+ speech therapy-related boom cards working on everything from articulation to social skills, to language skills.

Grab Your R Sound Speech Therapy Freebie Here!

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    In Conclusion: R Sound Speech Therapy

    We hope you have found this article helpful for working on your child or student’s r sound this school year. 

    Good luck!

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