“r”-Initial Word Position

“r”-Initial Word Position

The “r” can be a confusing sound because it is pronounced differently in different languages. For example, Spanish speakers roll the “r” with the tip of their tongue and French speakers roll the “r’ with the back of their tongue. The “r’ in English has no rolling.

This exercise focuses on the Canadian English pronunciation of the “r” sound. Learn how to make the sound, listen to the difference between a Canadian “r’ and common substitutions and then practice saying the “r” in words and sentences. Finally, familiarize yourself with common spelling variations for “r”.

For more practice, listen to the audio file and follow along with the print exercises.

How to make the “r” sound:

Raise the middle of the tongue toward the palate. Sides of the tongue are pressed against the upper teeth. The tongue tip is either pointed downward or raised to almost contact the alveolar ridge. Vibrate the vocal cords as the breath stream flows over the top of the tongue.

Structures: sides of tongue and upper teeth; middle of tongue toward palate
Air Flow: continuous
Voicing: voiced

Listening Exercises:

*not recorded

r letter sound w letter sound
red wed
ring wing
rich witch
*rain Wayne
*rig wig
r letter sound l letter sound
Rick lick
root loot
race lace
*rice lice
*red led
r letter sound
r letter sound
red  red
race  race
reach  reach
*write  *write
*road  *road
*Rolled r words are spelled the same, with the “rolled” pronunciation

Speaking Exercises:

  1. reach
  2. rain
  3. radish
  4. wreck
  5. rhinoceros
  6. ruin
  7. run
  8. race
  9. report
  10. wrench
  11. red
  12. wrist
  13. *ravioli
  14. *retrieve
  15. *road
  16. *Red Deer
  17. *rose
  18. *rent
  19. *retire
  20. *remove
  21. *retroactive

Using “r” in sentences:

  1. Randy wrote an excellent report on the environment.
  2. Could you retrieve the records from the basement?
  3. There was a major car wreck on Range Road.
  4. The rhinoceros roamed beside the river.
  5. Have you seen my red wrench anywhere?
  6. *Roberto makes the best ravioli.
  7. *Can you reach my raincoat?
  8. *Rhonda reached the finish line first and won the race.
  9. *Does it ever rain in Red Deer?
  10. *My roommate grows radishes in the garden.

Spelling Variations:

In Canada we have two spelling variations for the ‘r’ sound

  • r as in road
  • wr as in write