Fluency Strategies

Using fluency strategies can help to lessen instances of stuttering, improve breath management for speech, better speech intelligibility, and boost your overall communicative abilities.

Fluency-Enhancing Strategies

Purpose: These strategies are meant to help the user manage his/her fluency by using general strategies to manipulate said fluency.

Easy Onset & Light Contact:

  • Gently and easily produce sounds at the start of words using less tension.

Slower Speech Rates:

  • Slow down overall speech rate to facilitate better fluency. This may be done all the time or just during more common ‘problem’ situations. For instance, you may experience more anxiety speaking on the phone, which may lead to more stuttering. By incorporating a slower speech rate, it gives you more time to implement fluency strategies to lessen the stuttering at that moment.

Relaxed Breathing Patterns:

  • Reduce tension using relaxed, deeper breaths. Using full breaths and appropriate breath coordination can help to maintain better fluency.

Pausing & Chunking:

  • Use natural breaths and natural breaks in grammatical structure to allow for pausing, which can help to enhance overall fluency along w/ allowing you time to prepare for what you are going to say next.

Strategies for Improving Breath Management & Training Pausing/Chunking:

Mindfulness Breathing:

  • Sit comfortably, upright in a chair. Focus your attention on your breath and acknowledge the gentle rise and fall of your abdomen. Scan your body for tension and direct your breath to areas of tension in an attempt to relax that area. If a thought unrelated to your breath arises during this exercise, then acknowledge it by saying “thought” and refocus upon your breathing. Similarly, if an unrelated feeling arises, acknowledge it by saying “feeling” and refocus upon your breathing. Do this for at least 1 minute to start and increase in length as you are comfortable.

Breath Pacing:

  • Use a metronome and/or tap rhythmically to establish pacing. Take a deep breath. Then at the established pace, count from 1-10. While doing this, you are striving to maintain consistent pacing and vocal production. Following the first count, breathe in for 3 beats and count from 1-10 again. Continue reducing the amount of breath you take in following each counting set until you have to take a ‘catch’ breath to continue with your count. Similarly, you can practice breath pacing by reading common phrases, sentences, and paragraphs. As you improve, you can begin to incorporate more pitch and loudness variation as desired while still maintaining appropriate pacing and breath management.

Stuttering Modification Strategies (The Van Riper Approach)

Purpose: These strategies are meant to help the user change the way he/she stutters by reducing tension

  • Identify behaviors, feelings, and attitudes related to your stuttering.

  • Practice pseudostuttering or intentionally stuttering to better manage control of stuttering along with related anxiety and negative feelings.

  • Consider using fluency-enhancing strategies such as light contact and easy onset.

  • Independently monitor and manage your own stuttering.

Modification of Stuttering:

  • Cancellation: After an instance of stuttering, pause and say the word again using an ‘easier’ stutter

  • Pull-Out: When you start to stutter, you slowly shift into saying the stuttered word with greater ease

  • Preparatory Set Strategies: When you anticipate a ‘problem’ word or think you may stutter, produce upcoming speech in a slower, easier, more deliberate manner.

Thanks for reading and I hope you get some benefit out of using these strategies. If you enjoyed this post, you may enjoy other posts on my blog and Instagram.


Van Riper, C. (1973). The Treatment of Stuttering. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.

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