Implementing Evidence-Based Practice: Selecting Treatment Words to Boost Phonological Learning

Holly L. Storkel
  • Language Speech and Hearing Services in Schools, July 2018, American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA)
  • DOI: 10.1044/2017_lshss-17-0080

The words you use to teach speech sounds to children with speech sound disorders matter!

What is it about?

Selection of words for speech therapy has typically been thought of as unimportant but a growing body of research shows that the words used in treatment influence how well children with speech sound disorders learn new sounds. This tutorial describes the research and explains why words are important when learning sounds. Free treatment materials using the kinds of words that help children learn sounds more readily are provided.

Why is it important?

Paying attention to the words used in speech therapy can create more success for children with speech sound disorders, helping them improve their speech more quickly.


Professor Holly Storkel
University of Kansas

Usually when we do speech therapy, we grab picture cards that are convenient for practicing the sounds a child is working on. It's a bit shocking to find out that the words can influence sound learning but this is consistent with what we know about how sound and word learning can support one another. I hope this tutorial and the accompanying free materials will help speech-language pathologist pick words that will boost sound learning.

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The following have contributed to this page: Professor Holly Storkel