The Ideal Age to Begin /r/ Intervention

I am often asked what the ideal age is to begin intervention for /r. I would love to give you a definite answer, however it really depends upon the child. Life is not like that! Some kids may be ready at age 5 years and others when they are 8 years. I always like to follow my approach about facilitating /r/ rather than teaching it. If you administer the EWR screening and find a correct production then the child is ready for intervention. If not and they are young then I would wait until the vocalic /r/’s are being taught in the phonics lessons starting in first grade.


  1. I totally agree about facilitating /r/. My approach is to immediately begin a bombardment schedule with regular short probes, then begin drill with the best context. That way I will hopefully find that “window of opportunity”, whether it happens sooner or later.

    • You can use the Entire World of /r/ Single word screening which has picture cards and evaluates prevocalic, vocalic and medial and final /rl/ words. It is ideal for younger students and non readers!

  2. I just have a question cause I’m stuck. Ok. I have a kid I have been working with for 1 1/2 years. He is 9. We have tackled an interdental lisp and /r/. He has done very well and all we have left is /or/ as is for. He consistently says fur instead of for etc. It is not his accent. I have found no words that he says this in, I have spent hours trying, but can not get that sound to some out of his mouth in anyway. He is cooperative but does not seem to hear it. Any ideas? I will say a recurring theme with him is very little rounding of his lips and today I realized that perhaps his jaw is dropping and he needs to bring it up.

    • Dear Laura-

      I would use a mirror as vocalic or is a has a visual vowel. Have him look in the mirror while he is producing or and contrast er final vocalic /r/ words with or vocalic /r/ words.
      Good Luck! Christine

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