They had left the villageat 5:30 that morningafter standingin the dark predawn chillfor an hourand he was thoroughly exhausted.It was now midmorning,and the African sunwas getting hot.Keith was already drenched in sweat,tormented by the factthat he couldn't get any fresh air.
When you break the text into small, meaningful chunks, your comprehension, fluency, andreading rate all improve. The key here is to read the writing the way it was written. Writersfuss over their sentences, phrase by phrase, until everything is just perfect, One aspect of this perfection is that every sentence should be easy to read and understand regardless of how complex it is.
Secrets of Phrase Breaking Revealed
Breaking phrases like this may seem foreign to most readers, but actually it's a normal thingwe do all the time — just not always when we read from a book. Take a look at this well-known text:
I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the republic for which itstands...
But we don't read it that way, we read it like this:
I pledge allegianceto the flagof the United States of Americaand to the republicfor which it stands...
Notice that when we read "The Pledge of Allegiance" in the normal way, we naturally do thephrase breaking. In fact, not doing the phrase breaking doesn't sound right at all. So how dowe do it?
Tuck the little words into the bigger ones.
Notice that each phrase starts with a "little"word ("I", "to", "of", "and", "for"). These kinds of words often signal the beginnings of phrases. Larger words often come at the end ("allegiance", "flag", "America", "republic","stands").
Break phrases into groups of three to six words.
Occasionally, you'll break for a one- ortwo-word phrase, and once in a while you have to go to seven or even eight. But even theselonger phrases can be broken down into shorter ones. In general, a "phrase" as I'm using theterm here is a very short group of words.
Pause slightly between phrases regardless of other punctuation.
Everybody knows topause when we see punctuation, but most people don't know that they should also pause justslightly when come to the end of a phrase. After all, putting a slight break between phrases is