Retrospective Miscue Analysis and the Socialization of One Young Adult Reader

By Theurer, Joan Leikam | Journal of Instructional Psychology, March 2010 | Go to article overview

Retrospective Miscue Analysis and the Socialization of One Young Adult Reader


Theurer, Joan Leikam, Journal of Instructional Psychology


The purpose of this case study research was to investigate the use of Retrospective Miscue Analysis (RMA) with a community college student enrolled in a college remedial reading course. This study explored two questions: (1) What types of reading strategies and behavior patterns are used by high school graduates enrolled in a community college remedial reading course? and (2) How does participation in RMA sessions change the reading strategies and behavior patterns used by the participants?

Theoretical Framework

Retrospective Miscue Analysis (RMA) is an approach to reading assessment and instruction that has been in use for more than twenty years and has a history of established success (Goodman & Marek, 1996; Moore, & Aspegren, 2001; Moore & Brantingham, 2003; Paulson, 2001). RMA is most commonly used with readers who struggle to make meaning of texts

by heightening a reader's awareness of the reading process. However, research has shown that even proficient readers benefit from RMA (Theurer, 2002; Wurr, Theurer, & Kim, 2008/2009). RMA encourages readers to understand and value their own knowledge of language rather than "giving up" and labeling themselves as nonreaders. Through RMAreaders analyze their own miscues and view them as attempts to construct meaning rather than viewing them as a failure to learn. RMA research has proven that when readers talk about and reflect on their personal reading style there is a direct positive impact on reading ability.

RMA is grounded in Vygotsky's (1978) social constructivist framework with its presupposition that human learning has a specific social nature. Optimal learning occurs in an environment in which both students and teachers, or readers and RMA researchers, participate in thoughtful reflective discourse. The researcher, taking the role of the knowledgeable other, assists readers in the construction and understanding of new knowledge. The environment in which learning occurs and the perspective of the teacher greatly influence how concepts are interpreted, learned, and ultimately used. Therefore in RMAthe relationship between the reader and researcher is of critical importance

Likewise, the sociocognitive perspective of Gee (2004) maintains that reading is more than processing skills. Rather, it is a process rooted in "a context of social interaction" (Ruddell & Unrau, 2004, p. 94). The values and knowledge of learners are greatly influenced by the larger learning environment. In the case of RMA, the learning environment is the conversation between the reader and the RMA researcher. In addition, sociopsycholinguists also note the significance of the influence of readers' social contexts during the reading process (Goodman, 1996; Smith, 1996). During RMA sessions the social interactions between the reader and researcher play a key fundamental role as the reader reflects on the reading process and his/her own personal reading strategies.

Methods and Techniques

Because RMA evolved from miscue analysis theory and research it therefore uses miscue analysis methodology (Goodman, Watson, & Burke, 2005). Research into the oral miscues (unexpected responses) of readers provides clues to a reader's knowledge and experience with language. As readers transact with text they make judgments about which reading cues (syntactic, semantic, graphophonic, pragmatic) or combination of cues will most effectively provide the information needed to make meaning. RMA extends miscue analysis research by supporting readers as they discover their personal reading strategies and assisting them to find new reading strategies with the assistance of a knowledgeable other, thus supporting them as they move through the zone of proximal development (Vygotsky, 1978).

During RMA readers are involved in a series of reading workshops in which the reader is recorded orally reading unfamiliar unpracticed texts. The readings are then analyzed using miscue analysis techniques. …

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