Articulation Therapy: Teaching /R/ blends

Articulation Therapy: Teaching /R/ blends

Articulation Therapy: Teaching /R/ blends

The /r/ speech sound is one of the late sounds that develop in children. Children usually acquire the /r/ blends by 8-9 years of age. Often, children with speech sound disorders have difficulty in producing the sound correctly. The /r/ sound alone can be a difficult sound to learn, let alone the /r/ blends. With time, patience and practice, you can make very good progress in teaching the /r/ blends.

What are the different types of /r/ blends? Here’s a list:

  • BR blends such as brown, bread
  • CR blends such as crow, crane
  • DR blends such as drink, dream
  • FR blends such as frost, fridge
  • GR blends such as grapes, great
  • PR blends such as proud, print
  • STR blends such as strawberry, stranger
  • TR blends such as train, track
  • THR blends such as through, throw
  • SHR blends such as shrink, shred
  • SCR blends such as scream, scroll
  • SPR blends such as spring, spread

How to teach the /r/ blends?

  • First, you will need to teach your child the correct /r/ sound. If they can do it then read on to learn more. If not, try to identify whether the bunched or retroflexed tongue position is best for your child. Pick up the easiest of these positions. Read more on how to achieve the /r/ sound here.
  • To practice the /r/ blends you will need to ask your child to prolong the /r/ sound like /rrrrrrrr/. Start with the easiest blend that your child can produce. If it’s /br/ for instance, try producing it like /rrrrrrrbrrrrrrbrrrr/. Then practice the other sounds such as /pr, cr, gr,cr/ using this strategy.
  • Next move on to the blends such as /spr, str, scr/ once your child learns the above blends. If your child is able to prolong the /s/ sound then you can go for this practice. Ask your child to prolong the /s/ sound and then prolong the /r/ sound. For example /ssssssprrrrr/.
  • Practice on a daily basis! Be consistent. Try to have at least 15-20 minutes of practice every day. Practice at different levels starting from the simplest (isolation) to the most complex (conversation level). Move to the next level once you have achieved at least 90% accuracy. Following is the order of practice that you can use:

Isolation level: Practise the /r/ blends on its own /rrrrrprrrr/

Syllable level: Combining the /r/ blends with a vowel (rrrrrprrro….rrrrrrprrrro)

Word level: Use the /r/ blends in the initial, medial, and final positions of words (proud, Cyprus, etc)

Phrase level: Use two or three-word combinations with the /r/ blends (proud prince)

Sentence level: Use the blends in sentences (The proud prince met his fate)

Conversation level:  Use the blends in connected speech in conversation with different persons.

Some Speech exercises for the /r/ blends
Here are some fun activities to teach your child the /r/ blends!
  • Do activities where you say the /r/ blends correctly and incorrectly. Ask your child to spot the difference. Give them rewards such as points for correct responses.
  • When you read books with your child, point out each /r/ blends that they read or hear you say. You can ask your child to repeat these after you. Or you can even ask them some questions. Saying the sounds with /r/ frequently will help them learn it quicker.
  • Practice target /r/ blends while playing games such as bingo, memory games, tic-tac-toe, etc. Choose any game that your child loves and use it.
  • Look through books or magazines with your child. Ask them to find pictures of items that have the /r/ blends. Have a “/r/ blends book”. You can then cut out the pictures and paste them into a book.

Here are some ideas:

  • Br blend: Brush – Use this in different contexts such as brushing your child’s hair, pet’s fur, or doll’s hair.
  • Cr blend: Crayon – Practice “cr” while playing or coloring with crayons. You can name the crayons like red crayons, bleu crayons, etc.
  • Dr blend: Drive – You can drive cars around and use the word while playing.
  • Fr blend: Frog – You can play a hopping game where you hop like a frog or you can also use a paper frog.
  • Gr blend: Green – You can find all the green things in a room.
  • Pr blend: Price – You can use pretend play games where you ask for prices of different items.
  • Str blend: Street – You can push cars or trucks on a self-drawn street with chalk.
  • Tr blend: Train – Similar to the Dr and Str blends, you can also use a train.
  • Thr blend: Throw – You can throw a ball in a basket while saying ‘throw’ every time.
  • Shr blend: Shred – Here, you can rip up some craft paper and use the word ‘shred’
  •  Scr blend: Scribble – Can be used similar to the Cr activity where you can scribble with crayons.
  •  Spr blend: Spray – You can fill a bottle with water and spray plants etc.


Vaz Larisa
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