When the /r/ sound is paired with a vowel, it tends to change how that vowel is pronounced. For this reason, we refer to any [vowel+r] combination as an R controlled vowel. In most cases this combination produces the “er” sound, as in her. Believe it or not, There are actually 5 ways to make the “er” sound!
A fun way to explain this to children is that the R is a very bossy sound. He likes to tell the little vowels what sound they can say. The R controlled phonograms are: OR, AR, IR, UR, EAR, WOR, ER
Watch this video for fun ways to remember each R controlled vowel combination!
Here are some fun R controlled Vowel Activities:
Adorable R Controlled Vowel SONG
Bossy R Board Game from The Measured Mom
A quick note about /wor/ from The Logic of English
Next up is STEP 5: Long Vowels