How to Implement the Phrase Boundaries Teaching Strategy in Your Classroom

Phrase-cued texts are a means to train learners to recognize the natural pause that occurs between phrases in their reading. Because phrases are units that often encapsulate vital ideas, the learner’s ability to identify them can enhance comprehension of the content.

Learning Outcome

  • Speed
  • Accuracy
  • Expression
  • Comprehension


  1. Choose a brief (100- to 250-word) passage that is within the learner’s instructional or independent reading level.
  2. Denote the sentence boundaries (ending punctuation) of the passage with double slashes (//).
  3. Mark within-sentence phrase-breaks with naturally occurring pause points that are contained in the sentences. Mark each of these phrase breaks with a single slash mark (/). See example below: My grandfather did great things. // Henry lived during World War II / but he did not fight in it. // He competed in fencing for fun / and played basketball / on the best college team in his state/ and went to France / to take harp lessons / from a famous harpist there. //
  4. Demonstrate fluent reading of the section, overemphasizing the phase breaks the first time.
  5. Encourage the class to read with you a few times chorally. With each choral reading, lower the phrase breaks to a natural reading rate.
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