Racer Rabbit Rummy

by Amy Strommer

Amy is a speech and language pathologist who works

with children and adults who have communication

disorders She is also a freelance writer and editor with

two educational publishing companies in San Diego.

Instructional Objective The learner will be able to group picture cards the include the letter "r" according to whether the "r" is in the initial, medial, or final position of the word and will be able to pronounce the names of the pictures correctly.

Learners/Context The learners are students who are receiving speech therapy services because of difficulty producing the "r" sound correctly. They are kindergarten through third grade students.

Rationale The "r" sound is developmentally the last sound that children learn to produce correctly. Children often substitute a "w" sound for the "r." For example, a child who is having difficulty producing the "r" may a say "wed" for "red" or "faw" for "far." Consequently, this sound is frequently misarticulated by children in the primary elementary grades. Not only do children need to learn how to produce the "r" sound correctly but they also need to discern the difference between an "r" sound and a "w" sound.

Because the "r" sound is difficult to produce, a great amount of repetition is needed to achieve correct production. Drills and worksheets quickly become boring for these young students. They respond well to games and appear to be more motivated by a game format than a drill situation. Additionally, during the game, the students can interact with each other, listening for correct and incorrect production of the "r" sounds.

Because the learners are early elementary school age, pictures were used instead of words. The goal is not to learn to read correctly but to learn to speak correctly. The learner can focus on the picture rather than struggling to read the word. Also, if the word was printed on the card, the learners could easily match the cards according to the letters without thinking about where the sound is in the word. Also, recognition of these pictures will help generalize the sound to other areas of their lives. When they see the same picture somewhere else, hopefully they will look at it and think about how to say the word using a correct "r."

Picture card games are also easily adapted to older age levels. With older learners who need practice creating sentences, they should use the word in a phrase or a sentence. This card game is appropriate for early elementary school age learners who are beginning to produce the "r" sound and for learners who need to practice using the sound in sentences.

Rules Materials are a deck of 36 "r" picture cards and seven Racer Rabbit Wild Cards. Number of players is two to four.

The game is played in the following manner:

1. One player is chosen to be the dealer. The dealer shuffles the cards and gives each player seven cards. The dealer turns one card face up and places the remaining cards next to it.

2. Players organize their cards according to initial "r" pictures (i.e., run), medial "r" pictures (i.e. carrot), and final "r" pictures (i.e. ,car).

3. Players group the cards into sets of three or more.

4. The seven Racer Rabbit Wild Cards are wild cards that have a picture of a word that starts with a "w." To use a Racer Rabbit card as a wild card, however, the learner must replace the "w" word on the card with a word containing the "r" sound. An "r" word may be created by replacing the initial "w" with and "r." For example, if a learner has a Racer Rabbit card that has a picture of a "witch" on it, he or she may change "witch" to "rich." The Racer Rabbit card may be used with any "r" group.

5. The player to the left of the dealer begins. He or she picks up the top card in the discard pile or takes a card from the stack. The player then discards one card. The player must state the name of the picture as it is placed in the discard pile. If the player has difficulty producing the "r" sound correctly, the teacher should provide the appropriate model or instruction.

6. Play proceeds around the table with players either choosing a card from the discard pile or picking one from the stack. Whenever a card is discarded, the name of the picture must be stated.

7. Before a player begins a turn, he or she may lay down a group of three or more pictures on the table. As each card is placed on the table, the name of the picture must be stated. If it is not stated correctly, the learner must pick up the cards and attempt again next turn.

8. The winner is the first player to lay down all his/her cards in groups of three or more.

Card Design Initial PicturesMedial PicturesFinal Picturesran carry four rock arrow far read fairy car red berry bear ride cherry door room hairy deer rip carry tear right parrot more rope scary pear rake story care rain girl gear ram barrel cheerRacer Rabbit Wild Cardswitch (rich)won (run)wick (Rick)wed (red)why (rye)wow (row)wide (ride)


Design Process I wanted to design a deck of cards that I could use with my students. I wanted a game that had pictures, provided interaction, and required verbalizations on each turn. I like picture card games, but I didn't want to create just another concentration or memory game. Initially, I wanted to make a "Go Fish" card game. The problem I have found with "Go Fish" is that some of the young kids have a difficult time giving their cards to another player. I thought a rummy game would work well because the goal was to group the pictures according to sound placement.

Originally, I wanted the learners to work only with "r" pictures. Later I decided the deck would be more useful if "w" words were included to increase the learners awareness of the difference between "w" and "r" words. I chose minimal pairs, which are words that differ by one sound, because these are usually taught first to help learners hear the difference between the two sounds. I wanted wild cards for each grouping, but could not think of any minimal pairs for the medial position. I then decided that the goal should be to teach the difference between the two sounds so even if the "w" was in the initial part of the word, the learner was still hearing the difference between the two sounds.