This is an excerpt from Super Star Speech, which includes instruction for teaching most of the speech sounds. Many more teaching tools and practice activities may be found in the book, but I hope this will be of help to some of you!
R is produced by widening and flattening the tongue. The sides of the tongue touch the upper back gums and teeth. The tongue tip is held in the center of the mouth and is curled upward. The voice is made to vibrate.
1. /r/ can be a difficult sound to teach. It is hard for the child to see the correct tongue placement since the sound is primarily made in the back of the mouth. Much trial and error may be needed.
2. Provide a visual representation of the tongue by holding your hand palm up and curling the fingers upward. Slide the hand backward to show the backward movement of the tongue. Remind him to put his tongue far back in his mouth.
3. Touch the sides of the tongue and the back teeth with a popsicle stick and instruct the child to press the sides of his tongue against his back teeth and push upward or even to “bite” the sides of the tongue with his back teeth. The tactile cues created by touching the teeth and tongue are very helpful here.
4. Have the child relax his lips. Lip rounding encourages production of /w/.
5. Start with a production of /l/ and gradually slide the tongue backward in the mouth until it approximates /r/.
6. Practice widening and narrowing the tongue and moving it forward and back in the mouth.
7. Teaching words or sound combinations of kr, and gr (creak, green, great) is sometimes helpful because /k/ and /g/ are also produced with the back of the tongue. Blends are usually more difficult to produce, but this may be an exception.
8. The vowel sounds “ee” and “i” are also produced with the tongue high and back in the mouth. Combining /r/ with “ee” or “i” may aid in attaining correct production. (“rrrreee”, ring, reach )
9. Exaggerate the sound of RRRR to draw the child’s attention to it.
R Practice—Initial R
Say each word pair. Be careful! The first word starts with W. The second word starts with R.
Do you know....
an animal with long ears?
why we carry an umbrella?
a bright color?
what you wear on your finger?
a pretty flower?
what will float on water?
a small animal with a long tail?
what a girl might wear in her hair?