Prosody is one of the three main components in reading fluency. It relates to the expression used while reading. Beginning readers typically read word by word and do not use expression when reading aloud. A fluent reader will read in phrases instead of one word at a time. One way to improve prosody in reading fluency is to work on text phrasing.
Text phrasing is the ability to group words together while you are reading. This helps reading to sound more like a normal speech pattern. It also helps increase reading speed, and ultimately, comprehension.
How to Improve Fluency with Text Phrasing
- Your students need to hear fluent reading as much as possible. Every time you read aloud a book to your class, they are hearing appropriate phrasing with expression. Along with read alouds, you will also want to model fluent reading with text that they have in front of them. Have them follow along in stories or reading passages while you read them fluently with appropriate text phrasing and expression. I also love using the website/app, Epic, because it has some great “Read to Me” books.
- Demonstrate how to read with appropriate text phrasing by working together to physically mark where the phrases should be while reading. A very common way to mark phrasing is with a / for a pause within a sentence, and // for a pause at the end of a sentence. Nursery rhymes and poems are perfect for this.
Little Miss Muffet / sat on a tuffet / eating her curds and whey //
Along came a spider / and sat down / beside her / and frightened / Miss Muffet away //
Miss Muffet came back / to sit on her tuffet / when the spider was gone //
She ate all the food / and was in a good mood //
Then, / she started to yawn //
- Use echo reading to practice reading fluency. The teacher will read a sentence or a phrase from a sentence. The student(s) will repeat it using the same expression and phrasing. For example, read each phrase and have the students repeat after you.
My big brother
loves to read
books about animals.
Then, put the phrases together to read the whole sentence with appropriate phrasing.
My big brother loves to read books about animals.
- Work on rereading to practice text phrasing. These Fluency Sentences are great for individual or small group practice. The students begin by reading each word. Then, they reread using phrasing. Finally, they read the entire sentence. Click on the picture below to check these out.
Need more ideas for improving reading fluency, check out this blog post as well, Improve Accuracy While Reading.