Please click here to listen to my my intro to the activity “Truths”.
Speakers from different countries share at least one challenge in terms of pronunciation: /r/. It’s right up there with /θ, ð/ in terms of difficulty. The challenge for a teacher is determining if the difficulty is limited to a certain position within a word or if practice is needed with this sound in all positions.
In previous posts like Truth or Dare, I’ve offered ideas for practicing the vowel sound /ɚ/. Today I’d like to focus on R as a consonant and, in particular, /r/ in initial consonant groups. Whether you call it a cluster or a blend, the key words in today’s activity have two or three distinct consonant sounds in a row, with /r/ being the last. Practice and street are two examples.
Please view my Consonant blends with R_handout. You’ll see the activity is straightforward: a list of statements to read and discuss. I note that this may be done in pairs, small groups, or as a whole class. Choose the format that best meets your needs. Encourage students to ask one another: “Do you agree or disagree?” Enjoy the exchange of opinions.
Suggestions: You can practice 2-3 sets at a time instead of trying to fit all ten into one lesson. Also, I’d encourage you to lead students through a listen-repeat drill at the start of each set. Read the key words only. Then after discussing a set of statements, end with a listen-repeat drill of those same statements.