Speech Corner-Play


Play is one of the most beneficial things for a child’s language development, and it is fun! Play supports a child’s imagination, creativity, language, social and cognitive development. Most importantly, the interaction in play is extremely important for children to develop their language skills – it provides an opportunity to learn new words and sentences and practice using social language.

It is important to provide lots of opportunities to play with your child, even if these are short periods of time.

Tips for what to do when playing with your child:

  1. Follow your child’s lead in play by watching to see what they are interested in – this is motivating and engaging for your child. For example, if your child wants to build a tower out of Lego, join in with this.
  2. Show you are interested in their play by your body language and facial expressions (e.g., lean in and smile) and make comments on what they are doing (e.g., ‘that’s a huge green dinosaur!’).
  3. Engage in pretend (or imaginative) play with your child. You may need to show your child how to pretend play – such as being a doctor, playing mums and dads, pretend cooking, etc. You might need to help show your child how to think creatively and imaginatively, and model language to use while playing (e.g., “Let’s pretend we are making a cake. This stick can be our mixing spoon, and we can put leaves, sand and water in to make our cake”)
  4. Create a problem in pretend play with your child. For example, if playing with Lego and characters you could model a problem “Oh no! The cat is stuck in the tree!”


For more information and fun play activity ideas, see

The Hanen Centre® website – http://www.hanen.org/Helpful-Info/Fun-Activities.aspx

(Adapted from Hanen.org, 2015)

Speech Pathology Team

Speech Corner – Book Sharing 2

Book Sharing 2

Book sharing is more than just reading a book to your child. It is an interaction between yourself and your child, where you both talk about the book.

The key to book sharing is you are both involved and having fun!

Some strategies for book sharing:

Ask questions: While you are sharing a book, you can ask your child questions. You can ask questions about something they can see in the pictures or hear from the words. These questions might be about the characters they can see, what the characters are doing and where the characters are.

For example: “who can you see in this picture? What is the giraffe doing? Where is the rabbit?)

You can also ask questions that require your child to link information. These questions will be harder for your child to answer and may require you to help by providing some think-alouds (e.g., I think …). You might ask questions about how the character feels, what might happen next in the story and how the character might solve their problem.

For example: “How do you think the giraffe feels? What might happen on the next page? How do you think the giraffe will get out of the mud?”

Try and avoid asking multiple questions that require a yes/no response. Avoid questions that might be too hard and use think-alouds to model the answer if needed and then move on. Remember not to ask too many questions – have a balance of making comments and asking questions to keep the interaction fun.

Pausing: Waiting for a few seconds gives your child time to process information and take a turn during book sharing. You can pause before or after turning a page, when something exciting is happening, or after asking a question. You can pause by waiting for a few seconds, look expectant, and watch your child to see what they are interested in.

Speech Pathology Team

Speech Corner – Book Sharing 1

Book Sharing 1

Book sharing is more than just reading a book to your child. It is an interaction between yourself and your child, where you both talk about the book.

The key to book sharing – you are both involved and having fun!

Books increase your child’s knowledge and understanding of the world and helps them to understand how books and words work. Book sharing is great for language development. It will support your child’s understanding of new words and their talking (using new words and sentences).

Tips to remember:

  • Let your child choose the book
  • Read it more than once
  • Make it a routine

Strategies for book sharing:

Make comments: Saying something about the book that is not just written in the text. You can comment on the pictures (e.g., “That is a huge brown spider!”), new words (e.g., “terrified… that means really scared!”) and thinking aloud (e.g., “I think the 3 little pigs feel worried because the wolf might eat them OR “I wonder what will happen next…”) 

Follow your child’s interest: Focus on what your child is interested in. You can do this by watching to see what they are looking at, pointing at, or talking about, and then make a comment or ask a question. (e.g., *child looking at a spider* “Look, a big brown spider! I wonder what the spider will do next?”).

Speech Pathology Team

Speech Corner – Recasting


Recasting is a strategy you can use to help your child’s language development. It involves repeating what your child has said but changing it to use the correct grammar and sentence structure.


Child – “elephant eat”

Mum – “The elephant is eating”




Recasting provides modelling of correct language for your child.


  1. Repeat what your child has said with the correct grammar and sentence structure and the correct vocabulary.
  2. Stress the word/s you have corrected by saying them with more emphasis.
  3. Slow down your speech
  4. Repeat – children need to hear language modelled many times before they can understand it and then use it.


  • Recast at any time but immediately after you notice your child has made an error.
  • It will be most effective when your child is engaged in the activity or event.

Speech Pathology Team

Speech Corner – Extending


Extending means repeating what your child said while adding more information. Extending your child’s sentences is an important strategy as it helps them to express themselves in longer more complex ways.

Here are some simple tips to help you extend your child’s language;

Repeat what your child said using correct grammar, sentence structure and vocabulary.

Add more information such as; size, colour, or any type of information that will add to the message (e.g., child: the dinosaur eating, parent: the dinosaur is eating green leaves).

Slow down.

Stress the words you have added to help your child focus on these.

By extending your child’s sentences you encourage your child and provide an example that is one small step ahead. This will help your child to learn how to use language in more complex ways.

Speech Pathology Team