Frequency of use allows many of us to cue-and-say short phrases or even sentences at a pace consistent with deliberate discourse (100 syllables per minute -- or better). To match such a pace with unfamiliar material in connected discourse or narration requires much greater facility, Daily cueing of whatever you say will certainly help to attain ultimate fluency. But if you reach a rate plateau and can't seem to move off it, no matter how much you cue, it may be that you are reinforcing some bad habits along the way. To identify some of these common problems see the other Error Factors in this section of the manual.
The practice narratives below were carefully selected and edited to allow one to check personal progress. They are primarily designed to aid the cuer who is moving from "Borderline" to "Minimum-Proficient," or from "Minimum- Proficient" to "Proficient." Others should feel free to try them -- provided they don't become discouraged easily. The Minimum-Proficient cuer should be able to cue-and-say a 60-syllable narrative in a minute or less. The final narrative -- if cued in a minute or less -- will put one at the lower end of the scale of those who are Proficient. Actually, a speed of100 syllables per minute is quite slow speech. If you will read the final practice narrative without cueing and time yourself you'll find that you can read it aloud comfortably in about 30 seconds!
There is no one "ideal" rate of speaking, just as there is no one "ideal" cueing rate. Considerable variation occurs among individuals who are excellent speakers and cuers. Considerable variation also occurs within a single individual. We tend to speak relatively slowly when expressing complex, thoughtful ideas and relatively fast when telling a story or a joke, with many gradations in between. The important thing to remember is that your speech needs -- not your cueing limitations -- should ultimately determine your rate.
60 Syllable Narratives
How strange it is that you can't get twenty people to attend an early evening meeting to improve the community, while half the town will turn out at 3:30 a.m. to watch a goodly portion of that very same town burn to the ground! [__________Time in seconds]
The most fruitful and natural exercise of our mind is conversation. I find the practice of it more pleasant than that of any other action of life. That is the reason why I shjould sooner consent to lose my sight than hearing or speech. [ _________ Time in seconds]
It is not speech, but the things spoken, that I am anxious about! I really care very little how a man said it, provided I understand him, and it be true. Excellent speaker? But what if he is telling me things contrary to fact? [_________ Time in seconds]
75 Syllable Narrative
A man dressed in a dog costume was walking to a Halloween party. En route, a dog catcher stopped him to check for a license, and started to put him in the truck. "But I'm not a dog," protested the man. I'm dressed this way for a masquerade party." The dog catcher replied, "Sure! Sure! That's what they all say!" [________ Time in seconds]
87 Syllable Narrative
Tired of his extra pounds, my husband went on a diet that included quantities of fish and vegetables. One evening our dinner featured red snapper and cauliflower. When our son discovered a bone in his fish, he asked, "Mom, what should I do with this?" "Put it someplace where you won't eat it," I replied. With that, he promptly stuck it in his cauliflower. [_______Time in seconds]
100 Syllable Narrative
A dog is utterly sincere. It can't pretend no matter how physically and emotionally incapacitated the human participant is. The fact that people don't have to be suspicious of a dog's reactions to them is in itsefl an enormous measure of potential mental health. You may question almost all or perhaps all the people in hyour life, but you don't question your dog. [_______Time in seconds]