phoneme ar

This language lesson is designed for 6 to 12-year-old children to help them understand the phoneme ‘ar’ and how to form words using it.

The primary skill of language development is based on thorough knowledge of phonemes. For accurate reading, spelling, and speech, children should understand how phonemes are decoded and encoded. To understand what is the sound of phoneme /ar/ and how words are formed using it, let us understand what phonemes are.

What is a Phoneme?

A phoneme is the smallest unit of sound in speech. Each distinct sound in a word is a phoneme, and each phoneme is represented by a grapheme (a letter or group of letters). 

By itself, a phoneme has no intrinsic meaning, but when we combine phonemes with other letters or words, new words are formed. It is the only sound that sets one word apart from another. For instance, the first phoneme is the one way to tell the difference between a bit and pit.

Although there are many instances where a single letter can represent a single phoneme in English, this does not always happen. For example, letter X is made up of the phonemes /k/ and /s/.

Prerequisites to Comprehend with Phoneme ar

Before moving to learn two letter phoneme, 

What is the Phoneme ar Rule?

The phoneme ‘AR’ is made of 2 letters, namely a and r. When these two letters come together, they make a new sound /ar/. For example – art, arm, star, car, farm, and park.

When the vowel ‘a’ is followed by the letter ‘r’ then ‘a’ does not produce the short vowel sound or the first vowel sound. Here, the letter ‘r’ is known as the Bossy R and holds a powerful impact on the vowels that precede the letter. Bossy R changes the original sound of the vowel and creates a new sound which is often called a growl vowel.

Pronunciation of Phoneme ‘ar’

Technically, the phoneme ‘ar’ sound produces two distinct sounds–vowel and /r/. It is pronounced with a wide mouth open. The sound of phoneme AR begins with the tongue tucked in the mouth as while producing the short /a/ sound. The tip of the tongue should point down toward the bottom of the mouth, just beneath the bottom front teeth. Now, as the transition takes place from the vowel sound to the r sound, take note of how the jaw drops and the tongue move upward.

Forming Words with ar 

This video lesson uses picture cards and movable alphabets to help the child make new words using this phoneme, for example, star, car, farm, and park. All these words use the phoneme ‘ar’.

  • Ar + m = arm
  • C + ar = car
  • F + ar + m = farm
  • B + ar + k = bark
  • Ch + ar + m = charm
  • Sp + ar + k = spark
  • M + ar + sh = marsh

Other Common Words Formed with ar phoneme

Dark, barn, star, mark, park, landmark, hard, party, start, jar, shark, dart, garden, parcel, orchard, architecture, quarter, farmer, and parish are a few more words that can be read with the sound of /ar/. 

Exceptions with the Phoneme ar Rule

The above rule is exempted if the vowel ‘a’ has a long vowel sound. The long vowel sound is not controlled by the letter r.  For example, words like care, scare, and dare have /a/ sound instead of the/ar/ sound.

  • In some words, the phoneme ‘ar’ is used as a digraph after the letter ‘w’ or after the blend ‘qu’, it is pronounced with the sound of /0r/. For example–war, warm, swarm, award, quartz—here, the letters ‘ar’ produce the /or/ sound.
  • In some words, the phoneme ‘ar’ produces the sound of /er/. For example–dollar, polar, beggar, and cedar. Here, the letter ‘ar’ is pronounced as /er/.

Activities to Introduce Phoneme ar

Activities are a fun way that makes learning easy. Give a lot of reading activities to help the child understand the phoneme ‘ar’ rule. Some activities that can help the child understand the concept and sound of the ‘ar’ are mentioned below –

  • Make or cut pictures of words that carry the phoneme ‘ar’ in them. Take small 3 or 4-letter words initially. Place the pictures on a chart. In a basket, keep the names of all the pictures. Encourage the child to find the name of the picture, read it aloud, and place it near the image.
  • Make a sheet of fill-the-blanks wherein the child has to fill the AR phoneme, first in the beginning, then in the middle, and third in the last. For example – __ __ m, where the child would fill the phoneme ‘ar’ by making the word arm. Similarly, sh __ __ p, t as sharp with ‘ar’ in the middle, and c __ __  as in the car with the phoneme ‘ar’ in the end. This kind of pattern would not only allow the child to understand the ‘ar’ placements but also help them to pronounce the words correctly.
  • Give some co-related words to the child like shark, park, and farm and ask them to frame a story using those words.

Repeat this activity by asking the child to make different words with ‘phoneme ar’ and add more words to their vocabulary, as shown in the video.

 Related Phoneme Videos:

To watch more language video resources, click here

Video created by Joanne Shango


  • elementary level
  • english language
  • language development