Bossy R Variations

Vowels can vary in the sounds they make. Here are some of the ways that Bossy R words can vary. First let’s look at what happens when words have both a Silent e and a Bossy R.


Silent e vs Bossy R

If you find a wire in your spare tire you will see that Silent e wins with -are & -ire. When we explore nature, it is Bossy R that wins with -ore & -ure.  A Silent e vs Bossy R words worksheet is available at my Teachers Pay Teachers Super Tutor Tools store.

The Bossy R Schwa


Some words say “er” with different Bossy R spellings. “The pearl is worth a dollar.” In this phrase, all of these spellings make the “er” schwa sound. Try an online Bossy R Schwa word sort.

The -ear phonogram is quite tricky. You will learn (er) not to fear (long e/r) the bear (“air”) with a big heart (ar). WATCH: trigraphs song from english4abc and the ear video from


The -air sound (or phoneme) can be made with several spellings. Besides the ear in bear, AR can say arrow and ER can say error. Be warned that AR can also say OR when it is warm. IR can say a long e in words like spirit & mirror.


Multiple Meaning Words


When working with Bossy R variations, you may notice that many of these words can be homophones. They sound exactly the same, but are spelled differently and have different meanings. “I have a pair of pears.”

You may also see homonyms or homographs, words that are spelled and sound the same but have different meanings. “I will park the car at the park.” In the phrase “There is a tear in my eye as I tear up the paper” the word tear is a hetronym. Hetronyms are a type of homograph that have the same spelling, but a different sound and meaning.

READ “A Bat Cannot Bat, a Stair cannot Stare” by Brian P Cleary, “Dear Deer” by Gene Barretta, “Eight Ate” and “The Dove Dove” by Marvin Terban.

PLAY Categorical Dominoes from Brian P Cleary to practice homophones.

Practice Schwa Bossy R with worksheets that can also be used as word sorts available at the Super Tutor Tools store at Teachers Pay Teachers. A free copy of the Multiple Meaning Chart can be found there as well. PLAY a homophone Search-a-word puzzle.

Learn more at R is Very Controlling from

Author: dailyplanit

I seek to create order from the chaos of complex information. Join me at the Daily PlanIt to gain insights, inspiration, and information to increase skills for a better life. I unlock the power of teaching reading with phonics in the pursuit of literacy at In my spare time I explore books and movies, often choosing titles available on both screen and page.

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