R Controlled Vowels Resources
The letter R is sometimes referred to as a bossy R because it often changes the sound of the vowel that goes before it. The word "fur" is an example because it makes the same sound as –er. This is a tricky part of English that requires committing strange R-controlled vowels to memory. Luckily, the Learning Library has the tools to stop bossy Rs from bullying kids who are learning to read.
As students learn the alphabet and the sounds the letters make in order to gain phonological awareness
, they’ll spend some time learning about the multiple sounds vowels can make. Each vowel has a long and short sound they can make. Some also have additional sounds they can make, based on their surroundings. One of the most influential factors on the sound a vowel makes is the being followed by the letter R.
Sometimes called the bossy R, when the letter R comes after vowel, they sound of the vowel is lost altogether, replaced by the R sound. This can be seen in these examples:
Other times, the r-controlled vowel is forced to change its sound when followed by an R.
- When the letter A falls between a W or U and an R, its sound is changed to that of an O. This came about because of the way the mouth must be shaped in order to make the W and the R sound. Changing our mouth shape in the middle to accommodate the A stopped happening. For example:
- Sometimes, when an E comes before an R it will have it’s sound changed to that of an A. This is the result of the way the tongue must be held to pronounce the R. In preparation for the R, our tongue is tense and affects the way the E is pronounced. For example:
Practicing with the resources provided by Education.com can help children identify and understand the influence of the bossy R and how it affects the R controlled vowels.