top of page

Lights, Camera, Recast

Part 3 in our series on Early Language Support Strategies

This series is all about what parents and caregivers can do to support early language development in young children. In our most recent posts, we discussed the Hand Rule and OWLing. This week, we have a new strategy: Recasting

This strategy helps parents and caregivers to model expansions and correct their child’s utterances in a low-pressure way. 

Ready to learn more? Let’s go!


There are two key ways that we can use recast to support language development. Either way, we are going to be repeating and modeling for our child!


When we expand, we are adding a word to make the utterance longer. We can expand one word to two or two words to three or four. 

While playing with your child, you can expand in many different ways. If you're working on incorporating more verbs into your child's vocabulary, you can add action words like stop, go, crash to different nouns your child uses. If your child loves colors but isn't using very many color words yet, you can add description words when you expand to cover all the colors of the rainbow.

When you're expanding beyond 1-2 words, you can also start to enrich the recast by adding more information.

Expansions are perfect for children in the early stages of language development who are starting to explore word combinations and early grammar well as those who aren't using words yet! We can also recast gestures by modeling a word in response to gestures or vocalizations.


When we correct, we are keeping the meaning of the child’s utterance, but we are making it more complex or adult-like by correcting grammar or pronunciation. 

Corrections are perfect for children in later stages of language development as well as speech development – we can continue to recast to encourage more complex grammatical skills as well as speech sounds as long as a child needs!

But remember, we are not putting pressure on the child or even drawing attention to the errors. Instead, we are modeling and emphasizing what the correct way would be!

Recast Do’s and Don’ts 

Like any language support strategy, there are some easy Do’s and Don’ts to follow to get the most benefit. 


  • Use recasts to acknowledge you heard your child.

  • Use recasts as a model without waiting for a response

  • With younger learners, use your parentese voice when responding


  • Tell them you’re correcting them (e.g., “Whoops, it’s actually…)

  • Ask them to repeat the recasted version after you

  • Change the meaning of the utterance

Frequently Asked Questions

Question: What if I don't know what they're saying?

Answer: If you don't know what your child is communicating, then you will continue to model language and save recasting for a time where you have a more clear idea of your child's intention.

Question: If my baby is using a syllable like "duh", do I expand my recast to a word that starts with that sound?

Answer: It depends! If the target word starts with that sound, e.g., "duh" for "dog" when your child is gesturing toward a dog - say "dog!" If your child is making a sound like "duh" when they are commenting go you want to model the correct word.

Question: Do I really not need them to repeat after me?

Answer: Correct! It's important to not require your child to repeat after you. This strategy is about providing input not elicitation.

Question: What if my child gets annoyed when I am providing an emphasized model for their target sounds?

Answer: In that case, it's better to back off for a bit from recasts. If you still want to provide input, you can shift your focus to focused stimulation, which is when you use LOTS of words with their target sound rather than providing specific emphasis on the sound when it comes up.

Remember: a key part of this strategy is to model the language or speech your child is trying to use.

Now, Go Try It!

Have more questions? We would love to help -- email us at or come chat over on our Instagram page @talktimeboston


Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page