Easily expand your child's vocabulary and sentence length with our Repeat-Expand-Repeat technique. It is easy to do, and with a little practice, it will be second nature for you. The scripts below will give an idea on how to accomplish this task. 

Language Milestones Targeted

Expressive Language

Receptive Language

  • Uses about 200-300 words consistently 
  • Speaks with 3+ word phrases 
  • Uses words to get attention 
  • Understands 500 words 

"Reading Game" Directions

What You Need:  A Book

How To Play: There are a few ways to use Repeat-Expand-Repeat while reading with your child. How you play will depend on the language level of your child.

First things first, grab a book and sit down with your child.. Start reading. As you read, have your child point to pictures or even "read the story" to you if it is a familiar one. Once your child says a word, any word, or a phrase, use the Repeat-Expand-Repeat technique. Repeat what your child says to give validation. Then repeat the word or phrase while adding a word or two. Wait a few moments to see if your child will repeat your expanded phrase. If your child repeats you, yeah, success! If your child does not repeat, repeat it one more time and move on. 


  • Don't correct your child’s grammar if he or she is less than 3 years of age. Grammar skills develop slowly over the next few years.
  • Expand with one or two words only. Keep it simple! If your expansion is too long, your child may not repeat it.
  • Give adequate wait time, up to 10 seconds in some cases, for your child to respond.
  • This technique is beneficial as it gives validation to your child’s communication attempts and expands the length of their utterances.

Example Script:

Parent and Child are Picking Out a Book To Read:

  • Child: Book.
  • Parent: Book. (parent repeats)
  • Parent: Little book. (parent expands)
  • Child: Little book. (child repeats. hopefully!)
  • Parent: Yes! Little book! (parent repeats)
  • Parent: Let's read the little book. 

Parent and Child Now Sit Down To Read Book:

  • ParentThe girl went to the zoo. She saw a giraffe.
  • Child: Giraffe
  • Parent: Giraffe. (parent repeats)
  • Parent: Tall giraffe. (parent expands)
  • Child: Giraffe.(child responds)
  • Parent: Tall giraffe. (parent repeats)
  • Parent: The giraffe ate leaves from the tree.
  • Etc...

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