• Rebecca Cohen

5 Ways to Improve Phrasing While Reading Aloud

Phrasing Drills

Phrasing Drills are lists of phrases to be read as quickly and accurately as possible, similar to fluency drills. One set of great Phrase Drills are Fry’s Phrases. Each set has 100 phrases that includes the most common words students will encounter while reading.  I once worked with a fifth grade student who knew all of the words she was reading, yet her phrasing sounded slightly awkward and disjointed. After practicing Fry’s Phrases with her for just a month,  I could hear the difference in her comfort reading aloud. She became more confident with text, her sentences started to flow, and she even became more expressive.  

Read With a Teacher

When students takes turns reading with a teacher, the students have the opportunity to hear the phrasing and cadence used by the teacher. This gives students a model to listen to and learn from. Reading while taking turns is a major step to reading success and can be accomplished both in the classroom and in individual settings.


Poetry, especially when rhyming is involved, is an excellent way to give students text that lends itself to rhythm and motion. Reading quirky poems can also give students a break from dull passage reading and feel more like a game or an activity just for fun. By giving students poetry, something that is meant to flow easily, it is like giving text training wheels before sending them off on their brand new bike.

Theatrical Scripts and Dialogue

Similar to reading poetry, theatrical scripts can be an enticing getaway from generic passages of text. The main reason script reading is important is because dialogue is involved, which requires a partner to read the text with. This brings us back to reading with a teacher – by taking turns reading the dialogue back and forth, students have a chance to listen to their model, the teacher, and to react accordingly through expression and reading aloud with a natural flow.

Practice Consistently

Practicing each of these strategies consistency is the most important step.  The more consistent the practice, the better off the student will be. Ideally, for optimal improvement, students should be reading daily, both silently and aloud, as well as incorporating the rest of these strategies multiple times per week. The more students practice, the more comfortable and confident they will feel about their reading voice.  

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