R Sound Speech Therapy

R Sound Speech TherapyI frequently provide r sound speech therapy to children and young adults who have difficulty producing this sound.  As a Falls Church speech therapist, I explain to parents and clients why this sound is often so difficult to produce and what strategies and techniques can be used to improve production.

R Sound Speech Therapy

By what age should an individual be able to accurately produce the “r” sound?

While some children may accurately produce the “r” sound by age 5, other children may not develop this sound until approximately age 7.

Why is the “r” sound so difficult to produce?

There are several reasons why the “r” sound is so difficult to produce.  First, there are twenty-one different contexts in which the “r” sound can be produced, which are determined both by word position and surrounding vowels that occur in specific words.  For example, in the word “Ring,” the “r” sound is considered pre-vocalic as it occurs before a vowel.  In words such as “army,” “barn,” and “star,” the “r” sound is considered post-vocalic as it follows a vowel.  Different “r” sound contexts often present unique challenges to children and adults, meaning that not all contexts are equal in level of complexity.  Second, as the “r” sound is less visual (i.e., difficult to see correct tongue placement during production) than other sounds, it is often more difficult to explain to children and adults how to correctly produce this sound.

What strategies can help with “r” sound production?

If you or someone you know has difficulty producing the “r” sound, a certified and licensed speech-language pathologist should be consulted for advice and guidance.  Specific strategies typically aim to improve both auditory (i.e., improving one’s ability to hear a correct sound production) and production (i.e., correct placement of articulators – tongue, jaw, and lips).

The following link provides helpful suggestions for eliciting correct “r” sound productions:

Eliciting an accurate “r” sound

R Sound Speech Therapy in Northern Virginia

If you are interested in learning about A Step Above Speech Language Pathology and the speech and language services that we provide, please contact us for more information.  We cater to clients in Northern Virginia, specifically in Herndon, Arlington, Vienna, Reston, Annandale, Fairfax, Merrifield, and also in Washington, D.C.


Gilbert, D., Ristuccia, J., & Ristuccia, C. (2005). The Entire World of R Book of Elicitation Techniques.  Georgia: Say it Right.

Bedsole, K. F., & Johnson, C. M. (2006). Why is “R” So Hard to Say? Answers to Questions Parents Ask About the “R” Sound. Retrieved from http://www.superduperinc.com/handouts

Rogers, G. (2013). Tips, Tricks, and a Handy Tool for Teaching the R Sound. Retrieved from http://www.mommyspeechtherapy.com



Geoffrey Greenman, M.A., CCC-SLP is a Northern Virginia speech therapist.  He is the owner of “A Step Above Speech-Language Pathology.” We are a Reston, Virginia speech private practice that provides r sound speech therapy.

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