When is it time to teach –r-Controlled words?
I know as a teacher, I always wondered when it was time to teach -r-Controlled Syllables. After many years of teaching, I believe I have figured it out. And the answer is: when students have mastered simultaneously reading the Closed Syllable (also known as short vowel words) and the Vowel-Consonant-e Syllable, then students are ready to read –r-Controlled words.
Mastered means that students are reading these syllable type words by interchangeably reading them with good fluency speed.
So if a student is simultaneously reading Closed Syllable words (words with all five short vowel sounds) and Vowel-Consonant-e Syllable words (long vowel words) with 80% accuracy, then it is time to introduce the –r-Controlled Syllable pattern. The step of crossing over from reading Closed Syllable words to Vowel-Consonant-e Syllable words is critical. The reason being is that students need to be able to read the 10 basic vowel sounds with fluency.
If you would like to know for sure if a student is ready to read –r-Controlled words, simply administer these 5 short word lists. If a student scores 80% on each word list, then they are ready to move on to learning –r-Controlled words. Each list has 20 words. So 80% is 16 out of 20 word read correctly. I suggest that even if a student reads these lists at 80% accuracy, but their fluency is slow, then let that student spend a little bit more time on these lists in order to increase their fluency speed. I suggest that even if a student reads these lists at 80% accuracy but their fluency is slow, then let that student spend a little bit more time on these lists in order to increase their fluency speed.
Many times, you may find that a student has mastered interchangeably reading two or three of the short and long vowel sounds, but at the same time they are struggling with interchanging one or two of the other short and long vowel sounds. Once you administer these words assessments, you will know which vowels a student can fluently read and which vowels still need reinforcement and re-teaching before moving on.
These word lists are strategically designed. They include 100 short vowel and long vowel (Vowel-Consonant-e only) patterns. These word lists assessments are well worth your time to help you to know exactly where your students are performing in reading: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/When-is-it-time-to-teach-r-Controlled-Syllable-Vowel-Words-3808067
Assuming the student scores 80% or better on these words list, then you are off to teaching -r-Controlled words. The following lessons may be of interest to you.
All of these packets target -r-Controlled words that have the following spellings (which is the letter -r to the right of any vowel): ar, -er, -ir, -or, -ur. These spellings are truly -r-Controlled words. There are other spellings that seem like -r-Controlled in sound but they don’t specifically have a -r-Controlled spelling.
Examples of such words are ear, dear, fear, gear, near, pear, rear, swear, tear, wear, and year. While they do seem like they have the -ir and -air -r-Controlled sounds, they really don’t. The reason being is because if the words are really stretched out when sounding out the letters, the vowel sound -e or -a can be heard in each word. Now I know if we just regularly say the word, it does sound like they have a -r-Controlled sound. The letter -r in a true -r-Controlled word changes the sound of the vowel. So much so that the usual vowel’s short or long sound cannot be heard at all.
Therefore, the above words, are truly Vowel Digraph words because they have a Vowel Digraph spelling which means that the word is spelled with a vowel team only allowing one vowel to speak in the word.
Then there are the Vowel-Consonant-e words that also seem like they have a -r-Controlled sound, but again they are like the prior examples. If these words are truly stretched out sound by sound, the vowel sound is heard. For example the long vowel sound -a is heard in bare, care, dare, fare, hare, mare, pare, share, spare, stare, and ware. These words are not truly -r-Controlled words. It’s just that these words sound like -r-Controlled words with a Vowel-Consonant-e spelling if we say the word at a regular speed. I just tell the kids that the letter -r is a little bossy but not controlling.
Just a note. There are the outlier words that do have a -r-Controlled sound but are spelled with a different syllable pattern. These are words such as here, where, there, heard which are considered sight words any ways.