This is an excellent approach to meaning-making construction in authentic oral reading.  Since behavior is relative to one's actual proficiency, miscues act as a window into the proficiency of the reader under scrutiny.

There are a number of ways that oral miscues in reading can be assessed.  Here we will look at the concept of the "Miscue" itself and then describe a favored analysis of miscues designed within the behavioral sampling technology The Reading Miscue Inventory.  This is based on the work of Ken Goodman who did some of the earliest work on miscues.

Miscue analysis overall can be employed assist professionals in gaining insight into the reading process.  It involves both a quantitative and a qualitative component.  Miscue Analysis has other purposes:
1.    To analyze the oral reading of individual students to gain insight into the
       linguistic knowledge and strategy use of readers while reading and "meaning
2.    To help professionals evaluate reading material.  It provides an objective
       basis for determining whether a given selection should be used in a reading
       program and for determining material's suitability for use by students.

The focus is on the unexpected responses or miscues that are produced by the readers under scrutiny.  These are not considered errors or mistakes........they are considered non-random indices of the individual's underlying reading ability, linguistic knowledge, background knowledge, and reading strategies.  The interest is both on the miscues and how the miscues change, disrupt, or enhance the meaning of a written text.

What is a miscue?
       A miscue is defined as an observed response that does not match what
       the person listening to the reading expects to hear (Goodman).

Overall Description of Miscue Analyses

The study of readers' miscues provides insights into how they integrate the language cueing systems during the reading process in order to construct meaning.  This "realtime" and "on-line" meaning construction is referred to as "ongoing comprehending".  Problems with meaning construction can be noted by collecting and analyzing the miscues which may serve as clues to students' misinterpretations after reading.

The miscue analysis enables you to comment on the LANGUAGE CUEING SYSTEMS that the reader controls and the READING STRATEGIES that he/she employs.

The quality of one's reading typically depends upon their ability to use the four major cueing systems in an integrated fashion.

Language Cueing systems of interest:
             --        The Graphophonic System
                        **       Relationship between sounds and the written forms of
                                   the language.
                        **      Typically this (as all of the cueing systems) is just sampled
                                  while reading.
                        **      Includes spelling, phonology and punctuation.
            --        The Syntactic System
                        **      Focuses on the grammar of the system.
                        **      Much predictability in English based on the NP VP
                        **      Syntax may be thought of as occurring at higher levels
                                  of text organization than just the sentence.
                        **      The genres may provide differences in syntactic
            --        The Semantic System
                        **      System of meanings in a language
                        **      Strongly related to cultural knowledge
                        **      This system is the "heart" of reading since it is
                                  actually a MEANING MAKING process.
                        **      Semantic knowledge provides the reader with the
                                  pragmatic maps they can use to create new maps
                                  or new information based on the text so the information
                                  Can be mentally organized so they can remember it.
                        **      If a reader's semantic knowledge in an area is weak, it
                                  Can interfere with their "on-going comprehending".
            --       The Pragmatic System
                        ** The linking of the other three systems with the CONTEXT.

Reading Strategies of Interest:
           --       Initiating Strategies
                      ** Activated as soon as the readers recognize that there is
                           something they want to read.
                      ** Involves the scripts for the activity of initiation and
                           determining what will be expected overall.
           --       Sampling Strategies
                      ** In perception or reading (or anything with meaning)
                           we don't focus on all aspects of the signals or text we
                           only select or focus on enough to make meaning.
                      ** This increases efficiency and speed.
          --        Predicting Strategies
                      ** On the basis of the information that an individual has,
                           he/she starts to predict.
                      ** The knowledge used to predict is based on experience
                           with the four cueing systems and the knowledge of the
                           world (which really is part of the pragmatic cueing system)
         --         Confirming Strategies
                      ** The active process of construction requires a constant
                           "testing" of the  meaning-making as it occurs.....the
                           predictions are confirmed or disconfirmed as one goes
                           along in language (whether reading, speaking, listening,
                           or writing)
                      ** These strategies will often result in self-corrections or
                           attempts at self-correction.

When Analyzing an Individual's Miscues, here are some relevant issues and questions (After Rhodes, 1993)

          You should focus on every miscue and ask a series of questions that
            address the following:
                       **      How are the four cueing systems employed
                        **      Are any corrections of miscues made
                        **      Are the miscues of "high quality" or "low quality"
                        **      Are any of the other (minor) cueing systems employed
                        **      How do the miscues affect comprehension of the text

             *   These questions are detailed to enable you to know what kinds of
                  questions or reflections to use on each of these issues with each
                  miscue.  Obviously, with experience you learn to key into certain
                  aspects but the whole generic group is detailed here for your

          With Regard to the SEMANTIC CUEING SYSTEM
             *   Does the reader indicate through the miscues that he/she does
                  not understand certain concepts or ideas presented by the author?

             *   Does the reader make omissions that disrupt the ongoing
                  construction of meaning and comprehension?

             *   When the reader comes to an unknown word, does he/she
                   put in a substitute word to maintain meaning?

             *    Is the reader able to understand certain concepts and ideas
                  even if he/she mispronounces words or phrases related to the

             *   Does the reader habitually associate the same words with each
                  other?  Are these associations disruptive to meaning?

                  (Was/saw, were/where, who/what, with/which, of/for/from)
                  Make the point that if the readers are using semantic cueing
                  these miscues typically won't occur.

             *   To what extent is the reader able to understand what the
                  antecedents are for pronouns in the text?

             *   A few considerations for judging semantic unacceptability:
                   - Proper names that are miscued are not semantically unacceptable
                    - Corrected miscues are not semantically unacceptable
                    - Grammatical miscues that don't change actual meaning are not
                       semantically unacceptable
                    - When a sentence is broken by punctuation (reading through
                       or inserting a period) it is best to look at the semantic
                       acceptability of the "reformulated" sentence than the original
                    - Often the reader gives you additional cues about his/her sense-
                       making.  If they have lost the meaning, you may often see more
                       repetition, quizzical looks, change in voice inflection, or change
                       in body language.
                    - Use the criterion of predictability when puzzled.  Read prior to
                       the miscue in question and knowing what you know of the text
                       and given your background information, would this miscue be
                       one that you could that does not distort the
                       essential meaning of the text

          With Regard to the SYNTACTIC CUEING SYSTEM
             *  Does the reader read certain words or phrases in his own

             *  Are the reader's insertions plausable given the syntax of his
                 native language or dialect?  Do they show that the reader is
                 making predictions based upon his knowledge of syntax.

            *  Does the reader attend to punctuation as a clue to meaning?

            *  What sentence structures seem to give the reader difficulty?

            *  What types of corrections or adjustments does the reader
                 make when his sense of syntax begins to breakdown?

            *  Is the reader able to recognize and use common patterns
                of text structure to construct meaning as he is reading?

          With Regard to the PRAGMATIC CUEING SYSTEM
            *  To what extent does the reader expect text to make sense?

            *  In what ways does the reader use cues from the environment
                 to figure out what a text might say?

            * To what extent is a reader able to understand what each
                character is saying in a written dialogue?

            *  In what ways does a reader converse with others about what
                a text might mean?

           With Regard to the GRAPHOPHONEMIC CUEING SYSTEM
            *  Does the reader rely on the sound-letter similarity to the
                exclusion of thinking about constructing meaning?

            *  Does the reader focus only on the first letter and then say
                a word beginning with that letter without necessarily making
                sense of the story?

            *  To what extent does the reader overcorrect miscues that make
                 no difference to the meaning?

           *   What consistent habitual associations does the reader make?
                 (Making errors like "was/saw" or "with/which"

            *  How much attention is paid to "sounding out" words and not
                Correcting via intonational and phrasing differences?

            *  Does the reader omit unknown words?

            With Regard to the ANALYSIS OF CORRECTIONS
           *  Corrections give you further insight into the dynamic process
                since the tendency for appropriate correction depends on
                "ongoing comprehending".  That is, determining if meaning
                has been compromised and what to do about it.

           *  These corrections and their interpretation are  related to the
               quality of miscues and provide insight into the reader's
               confirming strategies.

           *   Focuses on success in self-correcting and in the reader's
                judgments concerning which miscues should be corrected and

           *   It is important to recognize that the percentage of corrections
                themselves provides little insight.  So you have to compare
                comprehension with the corrections.

           *   CORRECTIONS are considered EFFICIENT if:
                           High Quality miscues (see below) are typically not
                           Low Quality miscues are corrected
                           Low Quality miscues are often immediately corrected so
                             that they become "partial miscues".
                           Efficient corrections are indications of MORE
                             PROFICIENT READERS

           *   CORRECTIONS are considered LESS EFFICIENT if:
                           High Quality miscues are often corrected
                           Low Quality miscues are typically not corrected
                           When there is a tendency to correct high-quality miscues
                             and these corrections make little change in meaning,
                             it is often an indication of too much focus on the graphic
                             information in the text.
                           Inefficient corrections are indications of LESS
                             PROFICIENT READERS

            *   The APPROPRIATE corrections suggest the reader's awareness
                 and concern about the Cueing systems
                          The appropriate correction of syntactic miscues
                            suggests a concern about linguistic structure.
                          The appropriate correction of semantic miscues
                            suggests a concern about reading for meaning and

           *   Beware of a simple "counting of corrections".   The lack of correction
                 may be due to a number of you  have to use
                 EXPLANATORY analysis to consider:
                          Readers DO NOT correct all miscues
                          Miscue correction must be understood in relation to the
                            quality of  the miscues produced
                          Proficient readers may not ALWAYS correct low quality
                            miscues if they don't consider them significant to the
                            development of meaning. (They are more selective)
                          At times, proficient readers may do "silent corrections" so
                            that you can't see the corrections but they have strong
                          Many readers may not correct if there are too many
                            low-quality miscues clustered in the same phrase.
                            Often, rethinking or re-construction of meaning as they
                              continue occurs
                           Retelling give a good indication of this.

           *   This information should be considered along with the uncorrected low
                     quality miscues

           With Regard to the QUALITY OF THE MISCUES
            *   Miscues can be generally rated as follows:
                           High Quality Miscues are semantically acceptable or
                             represent miscues that are subsequently corrected
                             because the text has stopped making sense.
                           Low Quality Miscues are semantically unacceptable
                             and there are few or no attempts to self-correct.

            *   Proficient Readers tend to correct low quality miscues because
                 they interfere with meaning within the sentence and to leave
                 high quality miscues alone because they don't interfere with

            *   Non-proficient Readers tend not to correct low quality miscues
                 as much and/or correct high quality miscues.  This is nearly the
                 reverse of the Proficient Reader.

            *   The difference between the two is that the Proficient Reader is
                 Involved in "on-going comprehending" and is reading for meaning
                 while the Non-Proficient Reader does not read for meaning as well
                 or at all.

           With Regard to the OTHER MINOR CUEING SYSTEMS
            *  How does the reader use pictures in the text to figure out unknown

            *  How does the reader use pictures to confirm or disconfirm her
                understanding of the text?

            *  Is the reader confused by where and how pictures/figures are
                placed in related to printed text?

            *  Is the reader able to read maps, bar graphs, and similar figures
                that are part of a text?

            *  In nonfiction materials, does the reader understand the function
                of main headings and subheadings and how those can be used
                to aid comprehension?

            *  In nonfiction materials, can the reader explain how bold or
                other special print is used, especially in relation to new
            With Regard to the DETERMINATION OF COMPREHENSION
           *   Although there is a definite relationship between miscues and
                comprehension, it is not always a direct or easy relationship.
                            It is necessary to look at the quality of the miscues
                            This is dependent on how the miscue affects the
                               meaning of the passage.

           *   The following relationships should be considered
                   High Quality miscues    Good Comprehension
                   High Quality miscues    Poor Comprehension
                   Low Quality miscues     Poor Comprehension
                   Low Quality Miscues    Good Comprehension

           *   Since High Quality Miscues are the result of good on-going
                comprehending, it stands to reason that overall good
                comprehension frequently co-occurs with HQMs.

           *   When you note High Quality Miscues but poor comprehension,
                then you have a mismatch between on-going comprehending
                and overall comprehension.  This is typically due to the reader
                having poor  background information about the topic at hand.

           *   Low Quality Miscues suggests that on-going comprehending
                is poor so it is not surprising that overall comprehending will
                be poor also.  When a reader is unable to construct meaning
                as he/she is reading, then the final comprehension of a text will
                also be poor.

           *   Low Quality miscues and good comprehension is a bit puzzling.
                It may be that the reader does correct miscues internally so that
                the on-going comprehending is occurring but it is not evident
                to us.  Since it is going on, however, good overall comprehension
                ensues.  Also check to see whether there is a difference between the
                beginning of the passage and the end of the passage.  It may be that
                the on-going comprehending got better as the reader got "involved"
                in the passage and so the majority of miscues are at the beginning
                but then improve so that there is good overall comprehension.

            It is not a bad idea at times   to wait longer before interrupting a
              student who has made a miscue and is struggling with it than you
              feel comfortable doing. This is to see whether the reader will figure
              out a word through the context of the text independently.

(Goodman, Watson & Burke, 1987)

The procedure uses a Taxonomy of Reading Miscues to evaluate, categorize, and explain the miscue phenomena found to be prevalent in every reader.  The procedure evaluates each of the reader's consecutive miscues through a series of questions designed to gain the greatest amount of information about the causes of miscues and their influences on reader comprehension.

Within this procedure, the decisions about the specific miscues analyzed are actually dependent on specific forms and interpretations formed by the authors of this procedure

As with all behavioral sampling procedures, the RMI requires the taping of the student's reading aloud so in-depth analysis can occur at a later time.

All deviations from the actual print are marked whether they are high quality or low quality -- and whether they are corrected or not.

There are several forms that can be used for the RMI.  The differences between them pertain to what the focus of the coding and interpretation happen to be:
      Procedure I
            *   The most detailed analysis
            *   Each miscue is analyzed on the basis of six questions
                    - Syntactic acceptability
                    - Semantic acceptability
                    - Degree of meaning change
                    - Whether there was self-correction
                    - Graphic similarity
                    - Sound similarity
            *   There is also a way (once the questions are answered) to calculate
                 a student's attempts at meaning construction and creating
                 grammatical relationships for each miscue
            *   This form does not focus on the semantic acceptability of each
                 sentence.  Rather, the focus is on each individual miscue.
      Procedure II
            *   Very useful for classroom teachers
            *   Some counting of behaviors does occur
            *   Coding in three areas
                    - language sense
                    - graphic and sound similarity of word substitutions in context
                    - retelling
            *   Language Sense
                    focus on sentence and decide if each one is
                           Syntactically acceptable
                           Semantically acceptable
                           How much meaning change has occurred
                    patterns of strength, partial strength, and weakness is then
            *   Similarities
                    word substitutions are marked as highly, somewhat, or not
                       graphically similar or similar in sound.
            *   Retelling
                    scoring can be done anecdotally or via a holistic score

The Procedure for Obtaining a Reading Sample

   Although these procedures are taken from Goodman, Watson, & Burke,
   they are fine data collection procedures overall.

1.    You must collect and examine a single and complete oral reading
       experience followed by a retelling.
2.    Selecting Materials
         --  should be unfamiliar and unpracticed to the reader
         --  but the concepts should be known to the reader
         --  must be difficult enough to challenge the students strategies
              but not so difficult that the reader cannot proceed
         --  Selection of material one grade level above the student's
              assigned reading level and one or two alternative selections
              above and below that are usually sufficient.
         --  Need at least 25 miscues for an in-depth, well-rounded analysis.
         --  Choose an entire cohesive text that is both of interest to the student
              and well-written.
         --  The kind of text (trade book, textbook, newspapers, basal reader)
              depends on your objectives.
         --   Passage should typically be longer than 500 words.
         --   Try to get texts that strike a balance between the language or the
               format of the text and predictability.
3.    Prepare a typescript
         --   You use this to follow along
         --   You use this to record miscues, verbal asides, and any
               significant nonverbal actions.
         --   Should make this typescript and the text look as much alike
               as possible.
                       Same line length.......spelling....punctuation...
         --   Triple space so you have room for writing the miscues.
         --   Number with the page/line system (0110).
4.     Getting ready
         --   A tape recorder in good working order with tape labeled
               and dated.
         --   Suitable reading selections
         --   Type scripts of the selections
         --   Retelling guides
         --   Pencils for writing miscues
5.     Informing the Reader
         --   Make the reader as comfortable as possible
         --   Can sit beside or across
         --   Atmosphere is informal and friendly
         --   Chat briefly before beginning
         --   Briefly tell reader why they are being asked to read and let
               them know what is expected of them (e.g., "read this story
               aloud....if you have trouble with it, try to figure it out like
               you would if I wasn't here........after you read it, I'm going to
               ask you to retell the story for me")
         --   Let the reader leaf through to see how long it is and ask if
               they have read the passage before.
         --    Remind them to read aloud if they forget during the reading.
         --   NEVER stop them except when they are making very few
                miscues (and go to a more difficult passage) or when they
                are extremely uncomfortable and are not able to continue
6.     Oral retelling Procedure
         --    Good idea to have a written outline available
         --    You can compare...but be willing to be flexible with this.
         --    Prepare a retelling guide by carefully analyzing the selection in
                order to become familiar with and to determine all its features
                (characterization, setting, events, plot, theme, concepts,
                organization and stylistics).
        --     You want to obtain both an unaided and an aided retelling.

Suggestions from Goodman on the retelling portion:
            *   Get to know the readers
            *   Become familiar with the story
            *   Avoid giving the reader the information from the text
            *   Include in questions and comments only information
                 introduced by the reader.
            *   Don't rush yourself or the reader.  Think through
                 your questions and patiently wait for the reader's reply.
            *   Make your directions and questions very clear and
                 avoid giving more than one question at a time.
            *   Don't take "I don't know" for an answer.  Rephrase
                 questions to get information another way.  At the
                 same time, don't exhaust the reader with too great a
                 focus on any one topic.
            *   Let student's develop a topic and reach their own
                 conclusions before changing the subject.
            *   Ask open-ended questions.  Questions that can be
                 answered with yes or no or with single words often
                 limit the reader's presentation potential.
            *   Retain any nonwords or name changes given by the
                 reader unless they self-correct them.

Interpretation of Miscue Analyses
1.         Collect the data and code the miscues as described in the
            procedural description.
2.         This procedure has a special interpretation guide but it is
            best to combine the guide with both the earlier series of
            questions and the following considerations.
3.         Engage in the analysis and interpretation activities
             --  The focus is on the actual questions listed earlier and in this
             --  The questions are
                        **    Asked about each miscue
                        **    Patterns of miscues in relationship to other
                                miscues is a focus
                        **   The questions evaluate the relationship between
                               miscues and linguistic systems of the text and of
                               the reader, Language of the reader and the
                               author, Concepts of the reader and the author,
                               The Reader's use of sampling, predicting, and
                               confirming strategies
             --  Rarely do miscues involve only a single system of language
                  or an isolated reading strategy so all must be assessed.
                  The earlier set of questions and the analyses are systematic
                   ways of approaching this task.

Brief considerations for each major question:

Syntactic Acceptability and Semantic Acceptability
            --   These questions reveal how proficiently a reader uses
                 prediction and confirmation strategies.
            --   Proficient readers tend to produce miscues that are
                  semantically and syntactically acceptable within the context
                  of the written text.
            --   When proficient readers do produce unacceptable miscues,
                  they make use of their confirming strategies. (They tend to
            --   Less proficient readers are not so consistent in their patterns
                  and may produce acceptable sentences less than half of the time.
            --   The ability to produce semantically and syntactically acceptable
                  structures, or if the structures are unacceptable, to correct them,
                  provides evidence of a reader's predicting and confirming strategies.

            Syntactic Acceptability
                *  A sentence can have an acceptable syntactic structure
                    without having acceptable meaning.
                *  The Goodmans use "syntax" but they mean "grammar"
                *  Usually the focus is on the syntactic structure or the
                    morphological units that give the elements their syntactic
                    "slots" and not on the actual words.
                             Colorless green ideas sleep furiously
                              The flommus kepbocked with the netwok
                              The girl out-ran the rabid raccoon
                *  Syntactic acceptability creates a pattern within which
                    appropriately ordered words, phrases, and clauses
                   support meaning.
                *  This reveals the degree to which the sentence sounds like
                *  It reveals the success with which the reader is controlling
                    the structure of sentences as well as the relationship
                    of the sentences to the whole text

            Semantic Acceptability
                *  Focuses on the success with which the reader is producing
                    understandable structures
                *  Ask the question, "Does this sentence fit into the story as a
                *  Semantic acceptability is judged after syntactic acceptability,
                    and a sentence is always considered to be semantically
                    unacceptable if it is syntactically unacceptable.
                *  Sometimes sentences are acceptable on the sentence level but
                    not acceptable within the context of the whole text.
                         We'll do it tomorrow. So the next month the wife went
                          off to the forest.
                *  The questions of semantic acceptability are always
                     considered within the complete text.  This requires
                     not only awareness of the syntactic and semantic
                     coding systems.....but of the pragmatic coding system
                     as well.
                *   You may, of course, examine acceptability in sentences
                      alone and relate acceptability to self-correction......this
                      will allow you to focus on the reader's use of acceptance
                      or confirmation strategies.
                *    Keep in mind the idea of Expected Response when
                      focusing on meaning and remember that it is influenced
                      by your cultural and experiential background.

Pragmatic Acceptability
                *    Focus is on the amount of background information the
                      reader has to build "on-going comprehending"
                *    This is partly subsumed under "semantic cueing"
                      but it requires the additional knowledge of the world
                *    The reader is always using the coherence metric
                      that is, "does this make sense based upon what I know
                      of the world".
                *    Readers with problems with background information
                      often exhibit problems such that they have fewer miscues
                      but relatively poorer comprehension.

Graphic Similarity and Sound Similarity
                *    These provide data about the degree to which readers use
                      the graphophonic system.
                *    The two systems (graphic and sound) are considered separately
                *    Only word for word substitutions are examined for graphic
                      and sound similarity.
                *    If it is not possible to determine which word is substituted
                      for which (complex miscues, insertions or omissions) the
                      questions are not asked.
                *    Even proficient readers do not use the graphic and sound
                      systems to a high degree all the time.
                *    Only about half the substitution miscues show some
                      similarity to the text item.
                *    Less proficient readers generally have higher degrees of
                      graphic and sound substitutions.....they rely on it and
                      not meaning making more. (Aspectual readers)

            Graphic Similarity
                *   the sequence and shape of the written miscue and the
                     text word must be examined with no concern for
                     pronunciation.  There are many varieties of pronunciation
                     for the same graphic item....... particularly with dialectal
                *   Divide into graphemes (three parts)  See criteria below.

            Sound Similarity
                *   The graphic shape is not considered.  Close your eyes
                     and say the two words. Ask: "How much do the words
                     sound alike?"
                *   Divide the words into three parts (beginning, medial,
                     and ending sounds).  If two are alike and in the correct
                     position, then there is a high degree of similarity
                 *  If only one is alike.....then there is some similarity

                *  These are significant clues to a reader's processing of
                     language units.
                *  Generally caused by anticipation of a different structure
                    or because they are not familiar with the author's style
                     or structures.
                *  The key to intonation is not the "terminal juncture" but
                     the overall intonation contour of the sentence.
                *  The degree of stress and pitch that "flows" from the
                     beginning to the end.
                *  Intonation shifts due to pitch, stress, and pauses are
                     considered miscues when they change meaning or
                     the syntax.

                *  These do relate to the ways that the actual cueing systems are
                     woven together with various strategies.
                *   Corrections tell you how well the individual is doing "on-line"
                     and with "on-going" comprehending.
                *   At least three activities are going on during the process that
                      results in miscue corrections
                        The various cueing systems are employed to determine
                            what the meaning of the visual text happens to be
                        The meaning-making strategies of predicting, sampling,
                           and confirmation are used in real time to create
                           "pragmatic maps" or on-going comprehending
                        The reader demonstrates both their facility with
                            self-correction, their awareness of the needs to
                            ensure effective meaning-making, and gives entre
                            into their judgments concerning which miscues
                            should be corrected.

Peripheral Vision
                *   To what degree do readers pick up graphic information
                      in the periphery of the text being processed?
                *   Near    defined as line immediately above or below
                      Far      second or third line above or below
                *   Only COMPLETE WORDS OR PHRASES ARE
                     CONSIDERED HERE.

Additional Cueing Systems
                *    Additional cueing is provided by pictures, captions, titles
                      and subtitles, charts and graphs.
                *    If there is a good match between the text and these other
                      visuals, students will frequently use them to figure out
                      unknown words.
                *    Moving away from using pictures as cues is one of the
                      challenges children face in first learning to read the
                      more extended text of chapter books.