R controlled vowels - How to teach the Bossy R pattern (2024)

Print 🖨

Next up in mysyllables seriesis the r-combination syllable and r controlled vowels. In this post, I’ll explain what the r-combination syllable is and how to teach it using multisensory methods so your students can read r controlled vowels.

If you missed the previous syllable posts, you can find them allhere.

Grab your FREE 6 syllable types posters & word lists by subscribing to my list!

*Most school spam filters block my emails, so please use a personal email.

R controlled vowels - How to teach the Bossy R pattern (1)
R controlled vowels - How to teach the Bossy R pattern (2)

What is an r controlled vowel?

An r-controlled vowel is any vowel followed by an r. The r changes the sound that vowel makes.

R controlled vowels are often called “Bossy R” because the r takes over and makes the vowel make a new sound.

The er, ir, and ur all make the same sound /er/ as in her, bird, and fur.

But ar and or are a little different, as they have more than one sound.

Ar usually makes the sound in car, but can also make the sound in beggar and arrow.

Or usually makes the sound in corn, but can also make the /er/ sound as in the word doctor.

R controlled vowels - How to teach the Bossy R pattern (3)

What is an r combination syllable?

This is a syllable with an r controlled vowel. An r-combination syllable always has at least one vowel followed by r (ar, er, ir, or ,ur, ear).

How to teach r controlled vowels

My favorite way to introduce r controlled vowels is to tell students the ‘bossy r’ makes the vowel say a new name.

Marking R Controlled Vowels

First, as always, ‘spot and dot’ the vowels by putting a dot above each vowel. Then write a v or c below each vowel and consonant, as pictured below. All this helps to clearly see the pattern vr.

R controlled vowels - How to teach the Bossy R pattern (4)

I learned a unique technique when I worked at a dyslexia school that taught students to mark an upside down v over the vowel and r, kind of like drawing a roof over the 2 letters, to show that they go together.

Some people draw circles and that works too. The point is to come up with a way to isolate vowel and the r visually so the student can easily see the pattern.

Introduce the ar and or, before er/ir/ur

Because ar and or don’t sound the same it’s easier to start with these two, then move on to er/ir/ur which can confuse struggling readers.

You can teach er/ir/ur together since they all make the same sound.

R controlled vowels - How to teach the Bossy R pattern (5)

R Controlled Words List

Download this r controlled words list and other syllable posters by signing up below. This list contains ar words, er words, ir words, or words, and ur words.

R controlled vowels - How to teach the Bossy R pattern (6)

Grab your FREE 6 syllable types posters & word lists by subscribing to my list!

*Most school spam filters block my emails, so please use a personal email.

Activities to teach r controlled vowels

There are a variety of multisensory activities you can use to teach and reinforce thevrsyllable. Below are a few easy options.

It’s a good idea to have a list of ar, er, ir, or, and ur words to use for these activities. You can download my r controlled words list above.

1. Highlight the vr syllabe in words

Using a decodable text, have the student trace or highlight the syllable pattern vr in every word. It can be from a list of words or an actual passage like the one pictured below.

If you can’t write on the text, find the vr words, write them on a paper, and highlight the vr pattern there.

R controlled vowels - How to teach the Bossy R pattern (8)

2. Sort words with r controlled vowels

You can do this with cards or use a list and write the words in groups. Students could also play a memory game matching the same vr pattern in words, similar to the picture below.

R controlled vowels - How to teach the Bossy R pattern (9)

3. Play a board game where you can incorporate flashcards with r controlled vowels.

As always, you can turn any board game into a phonics game by adding flashcards with your target words/sounds. This is a cheap, low prep solution, especially great for homeschoolers. The only change you have to make is to have players read/write/highlight/segment (choose 1 or more) a word from the deck of cards with the target sound.

Of course, you could also find printable games that focus on r controlled words. There are tons of free printable games on Teachers Pay Teachers. Just search for “bossy r games’ and select free on the left side to only see the free options.

4. Transform CVC words into Bossy R words

Do blending drills where the student reads a CVC word, then you insert an r after the vowel and the student reads the new r controlled vowel words.

Here is an example:

  • Show the word cat using letter tiles or phonogram cards
  • Have the student read the word aloud
  • Talk about the vowel sound and syllable pattern
  • Insert an r after the a to make the new word cart
  • Talk about the new vowel sound ar
  • Have the student read the word aloud

You could also go backward, where you start with the word cart, remove the r, and read the new word cat.

5. Segment words with r controlled vowels

Segmenting really helps students understand and see that the vr stay together to make one sound. You can use my free printable Elkonin boxes template for these activities.

You can also use manipulatives to represent each sound and just use flashcards or written words (using large letters). Use one manipulative to represent each sound in the word.

6. Use videos & songs

If you want to include some video or songs, the 2 videos below are good options.

Conclusion

Make sure todownload my free 6 syllable types posters for your classroomfrom my freebies library, which includes the VR syllable poster shown above. I like to print out the reference sheet with all 6 syllable types for my students and place it in a plastic sleeve for them to reference as needed.

Grab your FREE 6 syllable types posters & word lists by subscribing to my list!

*Most school spam filters block my emails, so please use a personal email.

R controlled vowels - How to teach the Bossy R pattern (12)

Check out all mysyllable posts here.

Want to remember this? SaveR Controlled Vowels – The R Combination Syllableto your favorite Pinterest board!

R controlled vowels - How to teach the Bossy R pattern (16)
R controlled vowels - How to teach the Bossy R pattern (17)

Join my list and get access to my vault of freebies, plus weekly emails with tips, new posts, and promotions!

*Most school spam filters block my emails, so please use a personal email.

R controlled vowels - How to teach the Bossy R pattern (18)
R controlled vowels - How to teach the Bossy R pattern (2024)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Domingo Moore

Last Updated:

Views: 6186

Rating: 4.2 / 5 (53 voted)

Reviews: 84% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Domingo Moore

Birthday: 1997-05-20

Address: 6485 Kohler Route, Antonioton, VT 77375-0299

Phone: +3213869077934

Job: Sales Analyst

Hobby: Kayaking, Roller skating, Cabaret, Rugby, Homebrewing, Creative writing, amateur radio

Introduction: My name is Domingo Moore, I am a attractive, gorgeous, funny, jolly, spotless, nice, fantastic person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.