The Busiest Bossy r

Bossy r

The Busiest Bossy r has kids developing visual memory skills for spelling.

The content of this game focuses on bossy r: the letter patterns or, ar, er, ir , and ur, that are also known in the Wilson program as the r controlled syllable. The skills developed are in visual discrimination and memory. A word is flashed for 2 seconds and then hidden, and players put a chip in the correct vowel-r combination column of their boards. The game ends when one of the vowel-r combination columns is full.  All of the children playing will have the winning column fill simultaneously, and for this reason, I call this an activity, not a game.

The words at Level 1 are taken from the first three hundred words of the Fry Word List (1996) which are purported to account for 65% of the words used in elementary reading and writing. I’ve added a few from the next hundred which I’ve found young kids use often in their writing as well. (They’re  italicized.) On the first round, children simply identify the bossy r syllable they saw. On a subsequent round, they write the words with wipe-off markers in the correct columns, and ultimately, they work their way up to writing the words without looking first at the model on the card.

The Level 2 word list I’ve provided includes words from the fourth hundred of the Fry list as well as words that kids use in their writing that are unusual: dollar and doctor, among them. The procedure followed is the same as above with the children taking on increasing responsibility for spelling the words correctly.

Level 1

or: work, horse, north, story, word, more, short, morning

ar: hard, car, start, farm, part

er: under, ever, number, over, paper, water

ir: girl, birds, first

ur: turn, during   

None of the above: heard, earth, learn

Level 2

or: color, doctor, author, visitor, world, worth, worry

ar: charge, large, similar, regular, warn, warm, carry, toward

er: certain, pattern, covered, computer, emerge, serve, nervous

ir: stirring, skirting, twirling, dirty

ur: turtle, purple, curvy, hurling, sunburn


For full group participation, flash the word on the Smartboard. A flash card will be too small for all the children to see.