The sound of the letter “R” is one of the most difficult to make and, therefore, many children have difficulty being able to speak words that contain that letter correctly, whether it is at the beginning, in the middle or at the end of the word. This difficulty can last for several years, without meaning that there is a problem and, therefore, one should avoid putting too much pressure on the child, creating unnecessary stress that can lead to fear of speaking and, even ending up creating a speech problem.
However, if after 4 years of age the child is still unable to speak the “R”, it is advisable to consult a speech therapist, as it is possible that there is some difficulty that is preventing the sound from being produced, and the help of a specialist is very important. of speech.
The difficulty in speaking the “R” or “L”, for example, is generally known scientifically as dyslalia or phonetic disorder and, therefore, this can be the diagnosis given by the speech therapist or by a pediatrician. Read more about dyslalia .
What causes difficulty in speaking the R
The difficulty in speaking the sound of the letter “R” usually happens when the musculature of the tongue is very weak or there is some change in the structures of the mouth, such as a stuck tongue, for example. See how to identify the preset language .
There are two main types of R in speech:
- Strong “R” : which is the easiest to produce and is usually the first to be made by the child. It is done using more the region of the throat and the back of the tongue and represents the “R” that appears more often at the beginning of words, such as “King”, “Mouse” or “Stopper”;
- “r” weak or r vibrant: it is the “r” most difficult to produce because it involves the use of tongue vibration. For this reason, it is the “r” that children have the most difficulty doing. It is the sound that represents the “r” that usually appears in the middle or end of words, such as “door”, “marry” or “play”, for example.
These two types of “R” can vary according to the region where you live, as the accent can influence the way you read a certain word. For example, there are places where you read “door” and others where you read “poRta”, reading with different sounds.
The most difficult sound to produce is the vibrant “r” and it usually happens by weakening the muscles of the tongue. So, to be able to say this “r” correctly, you must do exercises that strengthen this musculature. As for the strong “R” sound, it is best to train the sound several times, until it comes out naturally.
Exercises to speak the R correctly
The best way to be able to speak the R correctly is to consult a speech therapist, to identify the specific cause of the problem and start treatment with the best exercises for each case. However, some exercises that can help are:
1. Exercises for the vibrant “r”
To train the vibrant “r” or weak “r”, a great exercise is, several times a day, to click your tongue 10 times in a row, for the next 4 or 5 sets. However, another exercise that can also help is to keep your mouth open and, without moving your jaw, make the following movements:
- Put your tongue out as far as possible and then pull back as far as you can. Repeat 10 times;
- Try to touch the tip of your tongue to your nose and then your chin and repeat 10 times;
- Place the tongue to one side of the mouth and then to the other, trying to reach as far out of the mouth as possible and repeat 10 times.
These exercises help to strengthen the musculature of the tongue, so they can make it easier to say the vibrant “r”.
2. Exercises for the strong “R”
To be able to say the strong “R” with your throat it is best to put a pencil in your mouth and screw with your teeth. Then you must say the word “miss” using your throat and try not to move your lips or tongue. When you can, try to say words with a strong “R”, such as “King”, “Rio”, “Stopper” or “Mouse” until they are easy to understand, even with the pencil in your mouth.
When to do the exercises
You should start the exercises to speak the “R” correctly as soon as possible, just after the age of 4, especially before the child starts to learn the letters. This is because, when the child is able to speak correctly, it will be easier to match the letters he writes with the sounds he makes with his mouth, helping to write better.
When this difficulty in speaking the “R” is not treated during childhood, it can reach adulthood, not only improving with day-to-day life.
These exercises do not exempt consultation with a speech therapist, and it is advisable to consult this professional when the child is unable to produce the “R” after the age of 4.