Racing 'Round R

By: Rebekah Beason

Rationale: When learning to read, students have to understand that with each grapheme or written letter; there is also a corresponding sound or phoneme.  Each word is made up of specific phonemes. Being phonemically aware is a strong indicator of successful readers.  It is crucial to teach these respective phonemes explicitly so that students can decode words and increase fluency. This lesson will highlight /r/, which is represented by the letter r.  Practice of this sound and reading of words will help to develop knowledge of consonant phonemes.  During this lesson, students will learn to write the grapheme and recognize the phoneme for r in this lesson.


Chart paper with tongue tickler printed on it: "Rowdy Rita was red-faced from running the race."

Rosie's Roses by Pamela Duncan Edwards

Primary paper


Card with blown up "r" on it and a dog growling


Assessment worksheet


1.  Say: Our alphabet is a code, sort of like a riddle.  To crack this code, we have to know the sounds that go with the letters. Today, we are going to be talking the letter r.  The letter r makes the /r/. Let's say it together a few times! /r/ /r/ /r/ /r/. Great! Have you ever seen a dog that is angry or scared? What did it do? (Wait for answer.) In this situation, dogs usually growl to show their frustration. When a dog growls it sounds like Rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. Can you try that? (Rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr) When we make this sound our lips are pressed together and our teeth are clenched. Think about that feeling as we go through the lesson.

2.  Say: To practice the /r/, let's try this tongue tickler (printed on the chart): "Rowdy Rita was red-faced from running the race." Let's try again, but this time stretch out the /r/ sound in each word. "Rrrrrrrrrrrrowdy Rrrrrrrrrrrrrita was rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrred-faced from rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrruning the rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrace." Excellent job! Isn't this fun! Here is a piece of paper, practice writing the letter r a few times. Make sure you start at the fence and go down to the sidewalk. Then, you go back up to the fence and make a curve facing down to finish the letter.


3.  Say: Now that we have talked about /r/ and practiced it in a silly tongue tickler, let's play a game.  Let me do an example for you first.  For the word rock, I hear the /r/ at the beginning of the word. Listen, rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrock.  What about the word net, do you hear /r/? (No) Do you hear /r/ in rice? (Yes) What about the word take, do you hear /r/? (No) Next, I am going to say two words, and your job will be to pick out the word with /r/. Ready? Ok here we go!

Do you hear /r/ in ramp or stamp? (ramp)

Do you hear the /r/ in sack or rack? (rack)

Do you hear the /r/ in roam or move? (roam)

Do you hear the /r/ in radio or music? (radio)

4. Say: I found this book Rosie's Roses and thought it would be perfect to read. Do you know why? You are right; it has /r/ in the title.  This book is about Rosie Raccoon's search for her Aunt's perfect birthday gift! She decides to give her four roses, but on the way to her party they start disappearing. We will have to read the story to figure out why this is happening! Let's read on to find all the words that start with /r/.  Whenever I read a word that starts with /r/, you growl like a dog how we did earlier. Now that we had read the story, can you remember some of the /r/ words that were in the reading? (Ruth, Robert, ribbon, rodent, rogue, Rat, rose)

5. To finish the lesson off, we are going to do some coloring. On this sheet, color the picture for the words that start with /r/.



What Begins With R?

Vanhooser, Holly. Better "B" the Best.