Do Sentence Recast & Auditory Bombardment Work?

(P.S. This post may contain affiliate links 'cause momma needs to bring home the bacon.)

When you're working to help your child learn to talk and listen, you want to know that what you're doing works. Your child's language and auditory development is on a timeline and you don't have the luxury to be using ineffective strategies. Let's look into whether two common language development strategies are actually data-proven-effective. Sentence Recast and Auditory Bombardment are the two Listening and Spoken Language strategies we'll see what the research has to say about. I use these strategies pretty much constantly when I work with children who are DHH. I was trained to use these strategies by amazing clinicians (and tons of textbooks) that I trust, but I still like seeing the data and outcomes of any therapy technique.

Let's Get Into the Research!

The study we're pulling our data from was completed at the University of Arizona with three children aged 4-5 who use cochlear implants. They had the children attend 30 minutes of therapy, 5 days a week for 5-7 weeks. That can seem a like a lot of therapy time but really this is only a small chunk of a child's day. 30 minutes it like an episode of Paw Patrol or the time it takes to make macaroni and cheese. In the study, they were working on teaching the child how to use past tense -ed verbs (jump vs jumped) and plural -s (cat vs cats). During each 30-minute therapy session, the therapists recast the children's sentences for 28 minutes and then for the last 2 minutes used auditory bombardment. Results of the Study Consistent and intentional use of sentence recast and auditory bombardment proved to be effective for all three kiddos. Below's a chart of their data
Pre-Intervention Accuracy Post-Intervention Accuracy Total Improvement

Child 1

13% 73% 60%
Child 2 7% 30%


Child 3 0% 37%


There were some differences in how much improvement there was between the kiddos, but they all made some improvement. (By the way, the researchers did also pre- and post- measure of a control variable. There was some improvement in the control variable, but nothing like the progress from using Sentence Recast and Auditory Bombardment.)

How Can You Use Auditory Bombardment & Sentence Recast to Help Your Child?

Now that we've seen that consistent use of sentence recast and auditory bombardment are effective and worthwhile strategies, let's chat about how you can use these strategies to develop your child's language.

1st Step: Learn the Strategies

Sentence Recast is when you listen to your child and repeat back what they say but with correct grammar. An example of this is your child says "Want milk more?" and you repeat back "Want more milk." Your focus is just to make your child's sentences grammatically correct. Auditory Bombardment is when you have a specific word or grammar element that you are going to say over and over again in a short amount of time. You'll say this target word in different types of sentences as many times as possible. So if you're getting your child some milk, you could say "Let's get you some milk. Here's the millk. Let's pour the milk. This milk is cold. The milk's in the sippy cup. Your milk is in the sippy cup. Time to drink your milk." In this brief interaction, you say your target word 'milk' seven times which isn't too shabby.

2nd Step: Pick a Routine

Remember that the research study lasted for 5-7 weeks? If you really want the strategies to be successful, you have to be consistent and stick with it. By picking a daily routine like meals, play time, or bath-time to intentionally use the strategies, you'll naturally build in the consistency and long-term commitment needed to really develop your child's language.

3rd Step: Know What You're Working On

If your child's therapist has suggested any language targets or specific words, definitely go with what they recommend. If your child doesn't have a therapist and you're kinda going by the seat of your pants, use a resource like the MacArthur-Bates Communicative Development Inventory Words and Gestures. This resource lists words and phrases that your child should learn to understand and words your child needs to learn. You can get the form here. Look over the form and check off the phrases and words your child can understand and say. When you come across something that your child doesn't know yet, pick this as something you're going to work on.

Tip #1: Be consistent! If it doesn't work on day 1, keep trying and stick with it.

Tip #2: Get your child's attention before repeating back the recast sentence. You want to make sure that your child is listening when you repeat back their sentence with correct grammar.

Thanks for reading! Now don't forget, pick a routine and consistently use your strategies!

Comment below what routines you've chosen to incorporate Auditory Bombardment & Sentence Recast.

Auditory Bombardment & Sentence Recast are effective strategies to develop language when used intentionally & consistency. Click To Tweet

Citation Encinas, D., & Plante, E. (2016). Feasibility of a recasting and auditory bombardment treatment with young cochlear implant users. Language, Speech & Hearing Services In Schools47(2), 157-170. doi:10.1044/2016_LSHSS-15-0060

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