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Recast length in child language treatment (Sweeney et al., 2024)

Version 2 2024-01-12, 23:36
Version 1 2023-12-01, 23:37
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posted on 2024-01-12, 23:36 authored by Lucia Sweeney, Elena Plante, Heidi M. Mettler, Jessica Hall, Rebecca Vance

Purpose: Although conversational recast treatment is generally efficacious, there are many ways in which the individual components of the treatment can be delivered. Some of these are known to enhance treatment, others appear to interfere with learning, and still others appear to have no impact at all. This study tests the potential effect of clinicians’ recast length on child learning during a recast treatment.

Method: Twenty-six preschool children were treated for grammatical errors using enhanced conversational recast treatment. Half heard recasts of four or fewer words (Short Recast condition), and half heard recasts of five or more words (Extended Recast condition). Outcome measures included generalization of the treated grammatical form, spontaneous use of these forms, change in mean length of utterances in words, and the number of children in each condition who showed a clinically meaningful response.

Results: There was strong evidence of improvements in the use of grammatical forms targeted by the treatment compared with forms that were tracked but not treated. Twenty children (11 in the Short Recast condition and nine in the Extended Recast condition) showed a clinically meaningful response. There was minimal support for the hypothesis that the length of clinician utterance influenced either progress on a grammatical form targeted by the treatment or on the child’s length of utterance in words.

Conclusions: The study adds to the evidence for the efficacy of enhanced conversational recast treatment. However, there is little evidence that clinicians need to regulate the length of the recast they provide to children.

Supplemental Material S1. Standard story narrative accompanying the picture book Chalk (Thompson, 2010). Each line is associated with a single page in the storybook.

Supplemental Material S2. Examples of words used to create unique recast for four target grammatical forms.

Supplemental Material S3. Children’s performance on generalization probes for the grammatical form that served as the target of remediation (Target) and control forms (Control) that were tracked, but not treated.

Sweeney, L., Plante, E., Mettler, H. M., Hall, J., & Vance, R. (2024). Less versus more: The effect of recast length in treatment of grammatical errors. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 55(1), 152–165.


This work was funded by National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders Grant R01DC016624 awarded to Elena Plante and Mary Alt.


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