Teaching IRE in Isolation & Syllables

In this lesson, you will be learning how to teach your child ‘IRE’ in isolation, or all by itself.

‘IRE’ errors are most noticeable at the end of words.  They might sound like some version of ‘I-YAH’ or ‘I-YO’.  For instance, ‘fire’ might sound like ‘fi-yah’, or ‘wire’ might sound like ‘wi-o’.  As with all vocalic ‘R’ errors, the way to fix this involves proper tongue placement, holding the jaw still, and tightening up the muscles of the tongue.

The ‘IRE’ sound is basically ‘I’ plus the vocalic R sound of ‘ER’.  That is why I usually start teaching ‘ER’  first and then work on the rest of the vocalic ‘R’s later.   The steps for making the ER part of IRE (I-ER) are the same as in the previous ‘ER’ lesson, so I’ll let you review that video and I’ll concentrate here on the techniques that are unique to producing ‘IRE’.

Basically, I explain to the child that ‘IRE’ is just ‘I’ plus ‘ER’.   The ‘I’ sound starts with the mouth open in a large wide oval shape. You can model it for your child, and have her look in a mirror to imitate you.  Then, the tongue goes back in the mouth for the ‘ER’ ending.


When your child can produce ‘IRE’ in isolation with 80% accuracy, you can start on syllables/short words, like ‘SIRE, DIRE, BIRE, FIRE, and GIRE’.  For example, for ‘SIRE’, instruct your child to produce ‘S’ and then move the tongue back to make final ‘ER’ sound.  It might help to use a mirror in front of both of you, or to at least give your child a hand mirror to look at.  Try to make it fun and reward your child for any effort to produce the sound correctly. It can help to separate the ‘IRE’  and the initial consonant at first, and then have her gradually say them closer together until she gets it:  S—IRE, S—IRE, SIRE.   Practice this at least 3 times.

Review the steps for practicing syllables in the ‘ER’ lesson and apply them here as well.


When your child can produce ‘IRE’ syllables correctly 80% of the time, you can move on to Initial ‘IRE’ in words.  From there, continue to work your way through all the ‘IRE’ levels, as outlined in the How to Teach Your Child Speech course.

You’ve got this!