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How to Use Miscue Analysis

Running Records and Miscue


Miscue Analysis refers to a process of diagnosing a child's reading. It is based on the premise of analyzing the errors a child makes during oral reading. When a child reads orally, the teacher learns a great deal about whether the child is making sense of what is being read by looking closely at the types of errors the child makes. By using the miscue analysis method, a teacher/parent will be much more capable of assisting those children who experience difficulty. Using miscue analysis is extremely important as reading tests can't give you this type of information.

The 6 Types of Miscues

During the oral reading, the child realizes he/she has made an error and re-reads the section/word without prompting.

As the child is reading, he/she will insert a word or two that isn't on the page.

During the oral reading, the child leaves out a word(s.)

A child repeats a word or portion of the text.

A child will reverse the order of the print or the word. (will say something like of for for etc.)

Instead of reading a specific word, the child inserts a different word.

Some rules about using miscue analysis:

  • Use unfamiliar text, not something the child knows from memory.
  • Do not use miscue analysis on beginner readers
  • Give the student some choice in the reading selection.
  • You will need a quiet place without interruptions, it can be very handy to record the child which provides you with an opportunity to listen to the passage more than once.
  • Photocopy the selection the student will read, use this to record the miscues.
  • Record each miscue. (Use hypens for skipped words, record each substitution (ie, went for when), use ^ for insertion and record the word(s), circle omitted words, underline repeated words, you may also want to use // for repeated words.
  • What do the miscues tell you?

    This is good! We want readers to self-correct. However is the reader reading too fast? Is the reader mis-correcting accurate reading? If so, the reader often doesn't see himself as a 'good' reader.

    Does the inserted word detract from meaning? If not, it may just mean the reader is making sense but also inserts. The reader may also be reading too fast. If the insertion is something like using finished for finish, this should be addressed.

    When words are omitted, it may mean weaker visual tracking. Determine if the meaning of the passage is affected or not. If not, omissions can also be the result of not focusing or reading too fast. It may also mean the sight vocabulary is weaker.

    Lots of repetition may mean that the text level is too difficult. Sometimes readers repeat when they're uncertain and will repeat the word(s) to make sense of the passage.

    Watch for altered meaning. Many reversals happen with young readers with high frequency words - of for for etc.

    Sometimes a child will use a substitution because they don't understand the word being read. Does the substitution make sense in the passage, is it a logical substitution?

    In Summary
    Using miscue analysis is an important diagnostic tool that should be done every 6-8 weeks to see how the reader is improving in the strategies used. Making sense of the miscues will help you with next steps to improve the child's reading. It is worthwhile to have a few questions prepared that let you know about the child's comprehension of the passage read as miscue analysis tends to rely on advising you of the strategies used. Miscue analysis may seem time consuming initially, however, the more you do, the easier the process gets.

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