An r-controlled vowel is one that is immediately followed by the letter ‘r’ and which can no longer be pronounced as a long or short vowel.
When the letter r follows a vowel, the vowel is usually forced to change its sound. That is why it is called the ‘BOSSY R.’
In most three-letter words with one vowel in the middle, the vowel has a short vowel sound
In most small words with one vowel in the middle, that vowel has a short vowel sound. For example cat, hen, sit, fog and fun. Now, if we change the last letter of each three-letter word to ‘r’, the vowel is forced to change its sound.
Listen to how the vowels have changed their sound. That’s why we call it ‘BOSSY R.’ It is also a fun way to teach the concept of ‘bossy r words.’
In the anchor charts below, we shall be reading ‘bossy r words – ar or it er ur.’
When the ‘a’ is followed by r, it makes the sound you hear in the words ‘arm’, ‘bar‘, ‘hard’, ‘sharp or ‘tarp’.
When the ‘o’ is followed by the r, it makes the sound you hear in the words ‘born’, ‘fork’, ‘horse’, ‘north’ or ‘shorts.’
When the ‘i’ is followed by the r, it makes the sound you hear in the words ‘irk’, ‘girl’, ‘shirt’, ‘sir‘ or ‘thirst.’
When the ‘e’ is followed by the r, it makes the sound you hear in the words ‘herd’, ‘her‘, ‘river‘, ‘under‘ or ‘butter.’
When the ‘u’ is followed by the r, it makes the sound you hear in the words ‘urn’, ‘curls’, ‘blur‘, ‘hurt’ or ‘nurse.’
Notice that ‘ir er ur’ make the same sound /er/. Just like short vowels and long vowel words are taught separately, R Controlled Vowels should also be taught separately and systematically.
These bossy r words anchor charts and word lists are free for subscribers to download.