Lesson Plan

R-Controlled Vowels in Context

Syllable vowel sounds change when followed by the letter R but also reveal regular spelling patterns. This lesson plan extends student understanding of R-controlled vowels with activities built to strengthen spelling and editing skills.
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Learning Objectives

Students will be able to identify the R-controlled vowel syllable type in contrast to other closed syllables that do not end in R.


(10 minutes)
  • Draw a square divided into fourths in front of your students and write the following words clockwise in the square beginning with the upper right corner: fir, tip, stir, fit.
  • Tell your class that you are going to challenge them to a game of call and response using those four words. Explain that you will call out a word and they will respond with the word that has the same I vowel sound as yours. If anyone in the class calls out a word that doesn’t have the same vowel sound as your word, you get a point.
  • Begin by having your students repeat each word after you, so that everyone can hear how the word is properly said.
  • Answer any clarifying questions and begin the game by repeating one of the four words that has the same I sound:
    • Say fir. (Your class should say stir.)
    • Say stir. (Your class should say fir.)
    • Say tip. (Your class should say (fit.)
    • Say fit. (Your class should say tip.)
  • Mix up your choices and repeat words so as not to become too predictable.
  • Explain that although all four words have the vowel I, the syllable that has the vowel, makes two different sounds. Furthermore, R-controlled syllables in which vowel sounds change slightly when they come before the letter R.
  • Tell your students that syllables following the consonant-vowel-consonant (cvc) pattern are called closed because the vowel is enclosed by consonants. Syllables spelled like this are pronounced as short vowels. Syllables that end in R-controlled vowels and begin with a consonant are closed syllables, so the I is always short.
  • Share the following lesson objective with your class: Recognize, identify, and apply R-controlled vowel sounds in words and their respective spelling combinations.