In three experiments, 18-month-olds were tested in a deferred imitation paradigm. Some infants received verbal information during the demonstration and at the time of the test (full narration), and some did not (empty narration). When tested after a 4-week delay, infants given full narration exhibited superior retention relative to infants given empty narration (Experiment 1). This retention advantage appears to be due to the effects of verbal cues at the time of memory retrieval. There was no effect of verbal cues that were presented only at the time of original encoding (Experiment 2A). Furthermore, infants who received verbal cues only at the time of retrieval exhibited superior retention relative to infants who received verbal cues only at the time of original encoding (Experiment 2B). These findings demonstrate that verbal cues can enhance memory retrieval by participants who are not yet fluent speakers themselves. © 2004 Elsevier Inc. All rightsreserved.