R-controlled Vowel ar and or

Contributor: Melissa LaRusso. Lesson ID: 12057

The letter, "r," looks so innocent. Who would guess that it controls some other letters? The letter, "r," can change the way some vowels sound. Get your pirate hat on and learn how "r" bosses vowels!



learning style
personality style
Grade Level
Primary (K-2)
Lesson Type
Skill Sharpener

Lesson Plan - Get It!


Say the name of these pictures out loud. What vowel sound do you hear in the middle of each word? How do you spell those odd sounds?

How many sounds do you hear in the word, "car"?

The word, "car," has two sounds, /c/ and /ar/. The vowel sound in the word, "car," does not make a sound that you would expect an "a" to make. The letter, "r," is a bossy letter. When "r" is paired with "a," it makes the sound of a pirate, “Arr!” Tell your parent or teacher the sound that ar makes in the word, "car."

Watch how Pirates Say AR! (song for kids about the "ar" sound), from Harry Kindergarten Music, to help you practice reading words with the /arr/ sound:


Now, read the following words with the /arr/ sound. If you have trouble reading the words, say each sound of the word. Start at the beginning of the word. Remember to say, “Arr” when you see the letters, "a" and "r" next to each other:

  start jar barn farm bark
  mark star garden mark smart


Look at the word, "horn." How many sounds do you hear in horn? There are four letters in the word, "horn," but there are only three sounds in the word: /h/or/n/. In this word, the letter, "r," is once again bossy. The "r" controls the sound the "o" makes. It makes the /or/ sound.

Sing and clap along with the or sound song, by Shaina Soderstrom, to practice words with the /or/ sound:


Now, read the following words with the /or/ sound:

  cord corn sport fort  
  more store color stork  


Look at the words, "more" and "store." When you are writing words with the /or/ sound at the end of a word, you need to add an "e" to the end of the word, like in the word, "core."

Move on to the Got It? section to practice more words with the /or/ and /ar/ sound.

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