speech therapy activities for vocalic r sound

Speech Therapy Activities
for the Vocalic R Sound

We've got the perrrrfect speech therrrrapy activities for the Vocalic R sound.

Vocalic R can be a tricky sound to teach, but these activities and related resources will be a great reference for now and the future!

1. Rawr!

Supplies: Picture of a W, Picture of a Lion or Pirate (Linked below)

One of the simplest and funnest ways to practice vocalic /R/ at the sound level is to practice roaring like a lion.

Print this picture of a lion and set it on the table in front of the child.

Write a large W on another piece of paper and place it next to the picture of the lion. (You could also draw an R on the picture with the lion.)

First, have the child discriminate your production of the vocalic /R/ sound. Alternate between accurate and inaccurate productions as you “roar” and “rawr.”

Have the child point to the picture of the lion every time they hear the accurate /R/ sound vs. when you use the /W/ sound.

Once they are stimulable for the sound, have them practice doing the “rawr” like the lion. 

You can do the same activity by printing this picture of a pirate and and practice saying “Argh” like a pirate. 

Buy Flashcards for Vocalic R Words for $5.99

2. Car Race

Supplies: Small Toy Cars, Vocalic /R/ flashcards, Printable Racetrack (Linked below)

Here is a fun activity to play with a group of children working on vocalic /R/. (But can be played individually too!)

Have your pile of vocalic /R/ flashcards ready.

Print a racetrack for each child, and give them a small toy car. These can be purchased at your local dollar store if you don’t have any already.

Have each child place their car at the starting point on their paper.

Then, they will take turns flipping over flashcards and saying each word ten times. If you heard them accurately produce the sound, they get to move their car forward a couple inches.

Likely, all the kids will reach the finish line at the same time.

As a  reinforcement for working hard during therapy, allow them to have a real car race in the hallway before they go back to class.

3. Purse Divers

Supplies: An Empty Purse, Flashcards

It doesn’t matter if they are a boy or a girl, all children love the thoughts of digging through someone’s purse!

Grab a purse that you are not currently using and fill it with vocalic /R/ flash cards.

Tell them they get to look through your purse and find all the /R/ words you’ve hidden in there.

As they pull each card out, have them say the word ten times and lay it on the table.

If you would like, you could print doubles of the flashcards and make them dig for matches in the purse.

Because the word “purse” is a vocalic /R/ word, you can have the child use each flashcard they pull out in the carrier phrase “I found a ____ in the purse.”

This activity would also be fun if you gathered real objects that contain the vocalic /R/ sound and put them inside the purse.

For a comprehensive list of words, use the Vocalic R word list on our website, it has over 150 words! 

For homework, print this picture of a purse or wallet and have the child write vocalic /R/ words from their flashcards all over it.

If you want to get savvy, you could make a slit in the purse and tape a ziplock bag behind it and send the child home with flashcards inside the paper “purse.”

SEE ALSO: The Best Free App for Speech Therapy

4. Pretty Bird!

Supplies: Picture of a Parrot, Popsicle Stick, Flashcards

In this activity, being a copycat is the name of the game.

Print a picture of a parrot, like this one, on card stock paper and tape it to the back of a stick.

Have one child hold it up in front of their face and play “the parrot.” As you flip through the vocalic /R/ flashcards, have one child say the words to the parrot as the parrot copies what they hear.

This is a really fun game for children who are on the phrase/sentence level of vocalic /R/ production because they can make up their own silly sentences for each flashcard and the child playing the parrot has to copy them. 

If you don’t mind making a small investment, this toy parrot on Amazon is a really fun therapy tool that you can use over and over with any speech or language goals.

5. Chalk It Up

Supplies: Printable Popcorn (Linked below), Dry Erase Marker, Flashcards, Tape, “Popcorn” Bowl

Print and laminate this picture of enlarged pieces of popcorn.

Once they are laminated, you can use a dry erase marker to write vocalic /R/ words on each piece of popcorn, or attach a flashcard to each piece.

Next, tape the popcorn all over the wall (or you can use velcro, magnets, whatever works best for the room you are working in.)

Give the child a “popcorn bowl” and tell them they have to find the words as fast as they can.

Flip over a flashcard or tell them a word aloud, and have the child search for the corresponding piece of popcorn on the wall.

When they find it, ask them to say the word ten times and then throw the popcorn into their popcorn bowl. Once they have found all the popcorn and it is in their bowl, see how many words they can list from memory without peeking.

You can have them use the carrier phrase “I have a ____ in my popcorn bowl.”

An obvious and delicious reward is a small baggy of popcorn at the end of the session for a job well done.

Get them using that word “Popcorn” as much as possible during this activity!

SEE ALSO: The Best Books for Speech Therapy Practice

Speech therapy books for targeting multiple goals

6. ...On The Apricot Tree

There are many fun activities you could do with popcorn, including singing the song “Popcorn Popping on the Apricot Tree” and making a popcorn tree.

The child can earn each piece of popcorn to be glued on the tree by saying a certain amount of correct productions from the word list. 

Although vocalic /R/ can be a stubborn sound to teach, there are so many words in the English language with vocalic /R/ that you will never run out of material for practice!

Visit the Vocalic R word list page on our website to find a wealth of word lists, phrases, sentences, even stories to help with this sound.

Have a wonderrrrrful day!

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About the Author

Lindsey is an M.S. CCC-SLP from Salt Lake City, UT. She received both her B.S. and M.S. from Utah State University. When she's not chasing her 5 crazy kids around, she enjoys creating engaging speech therapy ideas and materials. Read More

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