Early in my teaching career, I was baffled by the number of high school students who read text in large chunks clearly having no understanding of what they were reading. My students would read without paying any attention to the punctuation in sentences, paragraph breaks, or how texts were broken up into segments. And, as a secondary instructor with little training in reading instruction, I didn't know how to help them fix their problems with fluency.
A few years later, I earned my Reading Endorsement, which gave me some insight into the decoding and fluency problems my students were having. During my coursework, I tutored an ELL student who would enter high school in the fall. Our one-on-one sessions consisted of me listening to her read, identifying the problems in her reading and trying to figure out how to help her. Even with the training I was receiving and the vast amount of reading research I studied, I still didn't feel confident in the instruction I was giving this student. When our tutoring sessions ended, she entered high school still reading well below a 9th grade level, and I felt like there was still something missing in my reading instruction.
A few years after, a team of consultants earned a contract with my school district, and taught my colleagues and I about Phrase Breaking. I knew what Phrases were, but I'd never heard of Phrase Breaking before, at least not as it applied to reading. As these consultants trained us what to listen for, I began to understand how to better help my students by applying what they taught me.