Vocalic R

Welcome to The Entire World of R Blog! 

Are you a speech-language pathologist, special education teacher, English-as-a-second language instructor or parent of a child with an “r” articulation disorder?   

Does /r/ cause you problems?  Whether you call it vocalic r, r-controlled vowels, vowel-r, or r-colored vowel, we hope this blog will help you.  This site is dedicated to all things /r/.  This is a place to discuss your frustrations and find (hopefully) solutions.

What problems do you have? Please share!


  1. For more information on The Entire World of R check out this short video introduction by clicking here.

  2. I am a speech-language pathologist and am looking for an slp for my nephew who lives in Costa Mesa, CA (near Newport Beach). If you could recommend a few to choose from I would really appreciate it. He had supposedly “graduated” from speech therapy for /r/ a year or 2 ago and the problem has recently resurfaced.
    thank you,
    joy hickerson

  3. Sorry, but I don’t have any contacts of SLPs doing private practice speech therapy in Orange County, CA. Perhaps someone will see this post and respond? If any does, please respond.

    How old is your nephew? Which /r/’s is he having trouble with? Perhaps a little maintenance work is all that is needed?

  4. Thank you for your response. I have since started working with him myself and he is making progress. He has the most difficulty with the final position of words and /er/ /or/ combinations. I have noticed that he is not even able to get his entire tongue up to touch the roof of his mouth. Definitely some motor issues going on (he has already had his frenulum clipped). It has improved his overall intelligiblity and he is making progress so I am confident that we can get at least a really close approximation even if he is not able to get the proper placement. Thanks for your input!

  5. Not sure how to handle a 10 year old with a very distorted vocalic R- with an obvious “jaw-slide”. Tongue positioning is
    also an issue. Any ideas? thanks! I do use the pictures
    and diagrams from “The Entire World od R”

  6. Did you administer the Entire World of R advanced screening with the student? If so, what were the results? Did the student make a retroflexed (backward C tongue position) or a retracted /r/ (tongue bunched up like a mountain)?

    The retroflexed and retracted tongue position diagrams are contained in both the Entire World of R Book of Elicitation Techniques and The Entire World of R Instructional Workbook.

    Try these ideas first.

  7. I have an 8 1/2 year old client for whom elicitation of r is very challenging. I notice he has a very high palatal arch, which I suspected would affect the acoustics of the r sound. I did some googling, and came upon this article which may be of interest to you (see link below). The article finds that articulation of r may be more challenging for individuals with high palatal arches. Have you made similar observations?


    • Ruth,

      Thanks for the article. It’s interesting information. I haven’t done any research into palatal dimensions and /r/. Does anyone reading this have experience with palatal arch and /r/ production?


  8. Hi, I am an SLP in a school and have many students with many different r distortions. I am looking for a book with techniques and methods on how to treat all positions of r from beginning to end. WHich one do you suggest? I have seen “The entire world of r techniques for elicitation” and “The instructional book”. Which do you recommend for my needs?

    Thanks in advance!

    • I would recommend The Entire World of R Book of Elicitation techniques for detailed techniques and methods on how to evaluate and remediate the /r/ phoneme. The Entire World of R Instructional workbook has wonderful worksheet for production practice and homework.

      Good luck! Christine >

  9. Hi,
    I am an slp currently treating a few children privately. I had my first session with a 9 year old boy with both a w for r substitution and vocalic /r/ distortion. He has a history of torticollis as a baby and low tone. All of the vowel -shaped r’s sound like “or” (e.g. “ortichoke” for artichoke, fiorman for fireman). It almost sounds like a ‘w’ but it’s definitely more like he is inserting a ‘o’ sound in between the target vowel and the r. He says that his tongue does not stay up when trying to produce the vowel shaped r’s. Any suggestions? I hope this makes sense.

    • I would suggest administering the Entire World of R Advanced Screening
      and note the correct productions. Work on getting auditory and kinesthetic feedback
      from the correct productions.

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