What Exactly Does the Tongue Do When Saying the Bunched R Sound in Speech Therapy?

First things first, whether we are working on bunched R or retroflex R, we need to familiarize our students (and ourselves!) with the anatomy of the tongue at the beginning of therapy. It’s so important, in fact, that I often include anatomy lessons in my R resources, including this freebie in my TpT shop.

Okay great! Now we know the difference between the tip, the blade, and the root…. but now what? What does it all mean for the R sound? Preston, et al, 2020 gives us an awesome explanation to bolster our own knowledge of this complex phoneme. Here’s the breakdown:

Tongue Tip
     raised- either pointed straightforward or down

Sides of Tongue
touching top molars/gums

Back of Tongue (root)

retracted, lower than tongue tip

Back of Tongue (middle)
lower than the sides (like a “bowl”)

Lips
slightly rounded

Jaw
slightly open

By the way, although most people use a bunched R, I actually find retroflex is easier to teach. (So much so, that it inspired my best-selling resource.) For more info on how the mouth produces bunched R, you can read this blog post.

R is such a tough sound to teach but you’re doing all the right things to help your students. Rock on, friend! I’m here if you need anything!

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Welcome! I am here to serve, empower, and connect with each of you… and I genuinely love doing it! Why? Because I care about you and I care about your kids. Just consider me your virtual coworker! When I’m not creating super fun resources or nerding out over speechy things… I’m also a wife, taco enthusiast, and olympic shopper. Thank you so much for visiting my blog!

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