R-Controlled Vowel Words for Word Study

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The vowels that are controlled by 'r' are often difficult for children to learn. All too often, learners are taught the 'long and short' vowels and the learner then has no idea what to call words like: cord, far, bird, taller, dirt.

Reading or basal texts will often offer individual lessons rather than systematic instruction in using the r controlled vowels. Word building activities will help support students to recognize word patterns, such as changing the first letter or letters in the r controlled vowels, i.e. change car to far and far to jar, etc.

by listening for the initial sound.  

This is why we need to focus on the 44 sounds in spelling instead of just the consonant sounds and long and short vowel sounds, which is what teaching spelling is really all about.

Here is a sample of great word study words to use to help learners learn the patterns and anomalies of some of the R-controlled vowels. 

Activities to Build Decoding Skills With R-Controlled Vowels

Word Building:  Using individual letter cards and small personal pocket charts, have students build r controlled words from the list below, modeling the first word and then dictating the next words, for examples:     more, store, pore, chore - bark, park, lark, stark, etc. 

Word Sorting:  This is an especially good activity for r controlled sounds that can be made in different ways, such as the or in oar, store, floor, door, etc.  

Silly Poems:  Give students a set of r controlled words and have them write silly rhyming poems, such as: heart, smart, chart, part, start

Jim made a picture of a heart

And put it on the classroom chart.

Oh please, don't let me start . . .

Jim thinks he's just so blessed smart!

Word Cards for the Word Wall

You can print the word cards below and have the students physically sort the words by putting Velcro or magnets on the back of words to sort.

You could also use word families that are already prepared, which involve cutting out the words and pasting them in the correct column.

Do the word sorts in small groups, or make it an activity in a reading center that two or three children can complete together.  

The sound of 'ar' as in car:

Free PDF of words for cards or word wall.

are
bar
car
far
jar
scar
dark
mark
lark
park
jar
shark
stark
remark

The sound of 'air 'as in stare, care, fair:

Free PDF of words for cards or word wall.

bare
care
dare
glare
fair
share
tear
pear
sqare
stare
share
beware
prepare

The sound of 'or' as in pork, board, award:

Free PDF of words for cards or word wall.

cork
fork
pork
stork
born
corn
form
horn
torn
for
four
award
bored
board
cord
ford
lord
sword
ward
adored
toward

The sound of 'ir' as in bird, heard, skirt:

Free PDF of words for cards or word wall.

bird
word
herd
heard
preferred
heard
third
occurred
dirt
blurt
shirt
squirt
skirt
concert
desert
dessert
alert

The sound of 'r' as in fatter, taller, longer:

Free PDF of words for cards or word wall.

butter
better
hammer
shutter
spider
mother
father
easter
earlier
flower
power
older
younger
slower
faster
longer
shorter
bigger
taller

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Your Citation
Watson, Sue. "R-Controlled Vowel Words for Word Study." ThoughtCo, Jun. 4, 2017, thoughtco.com/r-controlled-vowel-words-3111063. Watson, Sue. (2017, June 4). R-Controlled Vowel Words for Word Study. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/r-controlled-vowel-words-3111063 Watson, Sue. "R-Controlled Vowel Words for Word Study." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/r-controlled-vowel-words-3111063 (accessed January 17, 2018).