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Monday, January 04, 2010


Geraldine Carter

Thanks so much for drawing attention to Ken deRosa's article. Miscue Analysis is being promoted quite aggressively here in the UK once more. Very alarming development particularly as we had worked so hard to eliminate it.


I am studying miscue analysis right now, and besides your apparent ability to take quotes out of context and display them, I fail to see how you have made an argument against this technique. Nice cutting and pasting though--you rival my 8th graders!


Theresa, it's hard to argue that whole paragraphs are quotes out of context. They speak for themselves pretty well. The word-guessing style of miscue (and it always comes down to word guessing rather than actual reading) can't touch teaching the kids the basic phonics that the written word is built upon.

Liz Ditz

Teresa, you missed the point. Miscue analysis is fatally flawed. Expert readers look at every letter and word, and rely little on context.

However, feel free to write a defense of miscue analysis and post it here. Tell me where the experts cited above are wrong. Provide citations.

Liz Ditz

The email address Teresa provided was invalid. Maybe she'll check back here and respond.

Kid Omega

Goodman himself suggested that when a reader’s miscues are analysed, the most important single indication of the reader’s proficiency is the semantic acceptability. The reader’s preoccupation with meaning will show up in miscues and not in other similar reading tests. In this way miscue analysis absolutely reliant on context so I cant say I agree with your point Liz.

There is no doubt that phonics teaching is invaluble in school (without it we could not decode words) but the whole point of reading a text is comprehension. Decoding words vocally without any understanding is not reading.

Oh and I havent given my email address out as i dont want to recieve any emails.


Michelle Breum

Thank you for sharing this information. I began researching this topic after viewing videos with experts discussing reading research on Reading Rockets' website. I know many teachers who hold on to the three cuing systems. Good readers use visual clues and phonics to read a word initially. The other cuing systems help with comprehension and determining if a word attempt makes sense after attempting to read a word with letters and sounds.
My children's school continues with balanced literacy, sight words, and the three cuing systems. I taught in the same school district and was trained in Reading Recovery.
Important research has been done! It has been around for more than ten years! I'm thrilled to find out NEW information and change my way of teaching to create successful readers. Yes, I learned all the other stuff, it seemed to make sense, but it has been proven not be the way to teach!
When children first start to read using phonics it may sound choppy at first. A sentence may need to be reread if a child takes some time sounding out a word to get back into comprehending his or her reading. It's like riding a bike or learning a musical instrument. It takes time. Patience and rereading familar text will produce fluent readers.
I hope more people who hold onto balanced literacy will dive into the research and find ways to teach that are proven to work.

Vicky B

Reading is an active, meaning-making process, so to focus exclusively on phonics at the expense of all the other experiences children bring to a text AND take from it is to remove their enjoyment of reading. Studies show that while the UK's children remain near the top of the ladder in terms of reading ability (despite the English language's complex orthography), pleasure in reading has declined significantly since the introduction of reading schemes. As more advanced readers we sample text, looking to graphohonic cues for confirmation of what our semantic and synatactic cues have already told us. The more important debate here is: what sort of readers do we want to create? Those that can simply lift words off the page, or real readers whose lives are transformed by reading?

Looking for evidence

I never understood the argument that phonics or single word decoding reduces reading enjoyment. You can't enjoy the book, if you can't read the words on the page. It's a step by step process. Systematic approaches do not exclude meaning or comprehension from instruction, they just break down the process and start with the first step. I wish Universities would stop teaching "theory" and teach what works based on data and evidence so this argument could be put to rest once and for all.

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