Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Postvocalic /R/'s! ER, AR, and OR




Brrrr!  It's cold outside here in Minnesota and that made Shanda and I think about putting together this last document.  It is filled with crosswords, seek-n-finds, picture articulation cards, and games that are winter themed.  Inside the packet you will find numerous activities and every single activity is designed to help your student become better at producing the postvocalic /R/'s, and to have fun working on them while they do!  
What is a postvocalic /R/ ?????  Well, it is a word that contains a /R/ that follows a vowel.  In this packet we specifically targeted the three postvocalic R's that we think our students have the most trouble with.  Those are the words that contain the combinations of /ER/, /AR/, and /OR/ in them.  A typical word list for the /AR/ words includes words such as: star, far, tarp, start and garlic.  For the /ER/ words: butter, teacher, girl, turkey, dirt and spider.  For the /OR/ words: story, fort, sport, popcorn, and thorn. 

Why are postvocalic R's so hard for our kiddos to produce?????  My theory is that it is because they have to concentrate on saying two different sounds everytime they say the word. The first sound is the vowel, that can bring their tongue in the back of their mouths for some, and in the middle and front of their mouths for others. The second sound is the tricky /R/ sound that brings their tongue in another position right after they got done with that vowel sound!

How do you produce a /R/ sound????  Here are the steps!

First, elevate and flatten your tongue and move it back so that the sides of your tongue are touching the inside and bottom part of your upper teeth on each side of your mouth.  (Whew, that wasn't easily said, and I know it is not easily done)!

Next, slightly curl up the tip of your tongue.  And keep in mind, that your tongue tip should not be touching the top of your mouth.  If it is, than drop it down.

Now, slightly pucker your lips so that the corners of your lips come in just a bit when you produce the sound. 
Lastly, turn on your voice and just remember to be careful to not round your lips too much or the /W/ sound will come out instead of the /R/ sound.
 
The /R/ sound can be a very tricky sound to master and the postvocalic combination can be especially hard!  This is what we tell our students and parents:

1)  Please be patient! The correct production will take a while for your brain and articulators to master.
2)  Practice over and over again.  Try for more than 300 sounds a day.  This is the only way to get  better at your sound and to make your brain make the connection on how to make the sound.
3)  Please think about how and where you need to place your tongue and lips for each sound. 
4)  Please do your productions slowly and carefully.  Going through them quickly and without thought is like not really practicing them at all. 
5) In addition, we like to emphasize that they need to do their sound practice in front of a mirror  so that they can always be closely monitoring their own productions.  They need to watch their own mouths to make sure that their sound looks like the one that has been modeled for them.

Producing the postvocalic /R/ in words is not easy, but so wasn’t ice skating or skiing the first time your student or child tried to do them!  Your child will have to practice to become good at things like sports and reading, and sometimes they will also have to practice with the same type of vigor in order to produce sounds correctly.
We wish you much luck with that the /R/ in "Brrrrr", and a joyful and (not too cold) winter season! 

Sincerely,

Manda & Shanda, SLP’s from Twin Sisters Speech and Language Therapy



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