What does the hit Netflix series “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo” have to do with speechsound carryover techniques?!

I am so glad you asked. In her show, Marie Kondo visits homeowners to help them tidy up! As a result, she has many of us excited to declutter and organize, too! Kondo has one question when deciding to keep or toss an item:

“Does it spark joy?”


Who says this phrase is just for old books and clothes?

“Does it spark joy?” is also a great question to ask about how we are working on speech sounds at home, too!

Who hasn’t heard the phrase, “They use their speech sounds in the therapy room, but once we leave the clinic, I have to use so many more reminders!”

It seems as if carry-over, or “the client’s ability to take an individual speech skill he has learned in the therapy room and to apply it broadly in all speaking situations” (Marshalla, 2010) is a common struggle.

You could sit your child down with a pile of articulation cards and have them read aloud…but does that spark joy?

Here are some simple, low stress ways to target speech sounds that don’t require any extra materials. You might even find that you are already doing many of these strategies!

1. Be an auditory model

You know how to say your child’s speech sounds. Show it off!

Once you become familiar with what speech sounds they are targeting, emphasize these when you are speaking.

Are they targeting “th”? Really use that sound when asking them to brush their “teeth.”

Still working on /s/? Draw out that /s/ when telling them to, “Buckle their seatbelt.”

You’ll be surprised just how many words contain their sounds.

2. Integrate their speech goals within your everyday routine

This one can go hand-in-hand with being an auditory model, but prompting your child to say words that contain their sounds is another great way to facilitate carry-over.

Maybe they help you set the table for dinner each night and are working on /l/ blends. Have them say, “Plate” aloud during this task.

Or maybe when they color, prompt them to say the colors or what they are drawing aloud if the words contain their speech sounds.

3. Work their speech sounds into literacy

When reading to your child at night, emphasize their speech sounds within the text.

If they are able to read, prompt them to say the words on each page that contain their sounds.

Not quite reading yet? No problem! Talk about the pictures on the pages. You can be creative and target their sounds within most books, but check out this resource for specific books for each speech sound.

4. Help with their self-monitoring

Self-monitoring is one of the most effective ways to facilitate carry-over.

Whether they are using their speech sounds correctly or not, ask your child, “How do you think that sounded?” This draws their attention to their own speech and allows for self-reflection.

If they indicate that it didn’t sound quite “right”, give them an auditory model of the correct production to prompt them to repeat. Even if they aren’t accurate in their own self-reflection right now, it’s okay! You’re off to a great start.

5. Praise them when they use their sound(s) correctly

This one should be easy! Often, we make a big deal when they make mistakes on their sounds…make a big deal when they use their sounds correctly!

This can happen when they use their speech sound spontaneously or after you provide a prompt for them. Not only is this a more positive approach, but motivates them to keep working. Who doesn’t love praise?

Other considerations:

  • Quality over quantity. If your child can produce only a few accurate productions of their speech sound, that is much better than 20+ inaccurate productions.
  • Choose one or two specific speech sounds to target if they have multiple speech sounds within their goals. Targeting all of their speech sounds at once is overwhelming and will just create frustration!
  • If they have not mastered the skill in the speech therapy room, they are not ready to target it at home. This will just create unnecessary frustration for everyone! Your speech therapist will know what sounds they can begin to carry-over into other settings and should keep you informed on when to begin focusing on carrying over.
  • It’s okay to not correct every single error. This one is tough, especially when you know they can say their sounds. But nagging is not the way to facilitate speech sound growth. It might even discourage them from speaking.
  • If your child is becoming frustrated, step back. Ultimately your #1 job is being a caregiver and creating an enjoyable environment for them. Enjoy the process of speech therapy. We certainly are!

Written By: Megan K. Arney, MS, CCC-SLP, Speech and Language Pathologist


Marshalla, P. (2010) Carryover Techniques in Articulation and Phonological Therapy. Mill Creek, WA: Marshalla Speech & Language.