Another Golden Opportunity

A large percentage of my clientele is working on articulation so, as you might guess, I see a lot of “r” issues.  I like working on /r/.  The kids are cute, the misarticulations are often endearing and it’s fixable.  I also like the challenge of matching a technique to a child.  It’s like a prospector mining for gold—you know it’s in there, you know it’s in there, but it takes tremendous patience to find that hidden vein.  But, oh, how valuable when you finally stumble across it!

A few years ago, I started a collection of /r/ articles and therapy tips in a 3-ring binder.  One is an article ripped from Advance in May 2004, “Eureka!”

The therapist, Priscilla Jones, recounts the technique she developed for use with her own son, Tyler, to discover his elusive vocalic /r/.  She found that preceding vocalic /r/ with /j/ and following it with a prevocalic /r/, was a friendlier way to elicit the sound.  The single word, “eureka”, fit the bill perfectly and had the added advantage of being less familiar (i.e. unpracticed) word.

So, if you took the time to create gold nuggets for St. Patrick’s Day, consider keeping them out rather than storing them as a seasonal activity.


Gold nuggets (for suggestions on making these, click here)

To Play:

Set up a classic treasure hunt by hiding nuggets around your room.  In the beginning, the child can just shout “eureka” upon finding one.  If you’re ready to have them expand it a bit, try having them say “Eureka!  You’re right (location)!”  (i.e. “Eureka!  You’re right behind the door!”)

The “you’re right” phrase stays consistent to the /j/, initial /r/ rules, giving you additional trials, but also a start with carryover.

Check out “Try this Nugget” for a St. Patrick’s themed language activity using the same gold nuggets or for more articulation practice try:  Irish I May.


This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Dean

    Love it! But of course I would, because we sell a game with a similar theme. It’s a card game called Gold Rush. You can find it on our website here:

    Your kids might like this also. ….and the playing cards are good practice for the R sound as well. I dare say every card has the R sound on it. For example they say, “one real gold nugget” “dropped your bag” “Run away Cart-lose your turn” and yes, I too have a “EUREKA” card.

    Looks like great minds think alike!!

    1. admin

      Dean, Thank you so much for adding this on. Had I been in my right mind, I would certainly have incorporated it myself! I love when I can get a theme going in therapy–reinforcing and keeps (my) interest high! Kim

  2. Debra Kerner

    Fabulous idea! What a golden idea. That phrase, “you’re right” is perfect for the kiddos that produce a retracted /r/ and helps them with co-articulation as well. However, our kiddos who produce a retro flex /r/ may or may not be as successful so they might need a different phrase. I can only imagine how great the kids feel when they get home and tell thei rparents about their Eureka Golden Adventure!!

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The views expressed in this blog are my own and are intended to inspire other speech-language pathologists in their own practice. If you are a parent, teacher or other educator, these ideas are not intended to take the place of treatment by a certified clinician. Read full disclaimer here.