R…R..Rrroaring with Dragons!

By: Katie Wilcox


Rationale: This lesson will help children identify /r/, the phoneme represented by R. The students will learn how to recognize the letter when they are reading books on their own and also when speaking to other people. By learning this meaningful way of representing /r/ (roaring like a dragon) and the letter symbol R. The students will have practice with discovering /r/ through practice with finding words, applying phoneme awareness with /r/ in phonetic cue reading. The goal of this lesson is for students to understand how to recognize the sound r in all words when they are reading. A way for the students to distinguish /r/ would be distinguishing rhyming words from beginning letters.


1.      primary paper and pencil

2.      drawing paper and crayons

3.      chart with “Ricky Rabbit gave Ruthy Red Roses”

4.      word cards with RUN, PARK, RIDE, ROAD, CROW, FIX

5.      Assessment worksheet identifying pictures with /r/. (URL below)

Procedures: 1. Say: Our written language is a secret code. The tricky part is learning what the different letters stand for. It’s also tricky because of the way our mouth moves as we say these words. Today we’re going to work on spotting the mouth move with /r/. We spell /r/ with the letter R. The letter R looks like a dragon and its tail, and /r/ sounds like what it would say: “rrrrroar”.

2. Let’s pretend we are dragons, /r/, /r/, /r/. [Make talons and a roar face]. Notice how your mouth feels and where your lips are [not touching]. When we say /r/, we open our mouths slightly and let the sound come out from our throat.

3. Let me show you how to find /r/ in the word rain. I’m going to stretch the word out very slow and you listen for that “rrrroar” sound. Rrrrrrrain. Now we’re going to do it slower: rrrrr-A-n. Did you hear it? I felt my lips slightly open and the sound coming out of my throat.

4. Let’s try a tongue twister. “ Ricky Rabbit gave Ruthy red roses.” Did anyone roll their tongue? Let’s try it while saying it three times together and when we hear the /r/ sound we are going to make our dragon talons. Now say it again, and this time, stretch the /r/ in the beginning of the words. “Rrrrrrick Rrrrrrabit gave Rrrrrruthy rrrrrred rrrroses.” This time, instead of blending them, try breaking off the /r/ in each word. “/R/ick /R/abbit gave /R/uthy /r/ed /r/oses.”

5. [Have the students take out primary paper and pencil] In order to spell out /r/ in words we use the letter symbol R. Capital R looks like the belly of a dragon and it’s tail. Let’s write the lowercase r. Start at the fence, draw a line down the sidewalk, then go all the way back up the fence. Before you get to the rop make a small hump up to the fence and start going down to the sidewalk. Stop just below the fence so you have a small hump. After I give you a sticker for your amazing job, we will then do this nine more times.

6. Call on students to answer and tell how they know: Do you hear /r/ in rake or make? Rain or sun? run or walk? Say: Let’s see if you can spot the mouth move /r/ in some words. Make the dragon talons when you hear /r/: horse, rabbit, monkey, giraffe, dog, cat, hamster.

7. Say: “Let’s look at this book: Red Gets Fed.” Red is with his family and he wants to be fed. Let’s explore this creature with the name “Red.” Ask children if you can think of words with /r/. Ask them to think of a funny animal that begins with /r/, then have each student write their silly name with invented spelling and draw a picture of their silly animal with other things that begin with /r/.

8. Show RUN and model how to decide if it is run and fun. The R tells me to make a dragon noise and my talons, /r/, so this word is rrrr-un, run. You try some: RED: red or fed? RUN: run or fun? RASH: rash or bash? ROW: row or bow?

9. For assessment, distribute the worksheet. Students are to complete the partial spellings and color the pictures that begin with R.


Cushman, Sheila.“Red Gets Fed.” Phonics Readers. Educational Insights. Carson, CA 1990.
www. kidslearningstation.com

Worksheet: "Fun With The Letter R" http://www.kidzone.ws/prek_wrksht/learning-letters/r.htm

“R…r…Roaring with Dragons!” based off the lesson design:

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