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What a Teacher Hears, What a Reader Sees, Article Critique Example

Pages: 4

Words: 964

Article Critique

What a teacher hears, what a reader sees: Eye movements from phonics-taught second grader

Joel Brown, Koomi Kim and Kathleen O’Brien Ramirez (2012), authors of the article entitled, What a teacher hears, what a reader sees: Eye movements from a phonics-taught second grader, give a thorough analysis of the concept that the reading process should be evaluated based on eye-movement and miscue analysis (EMMA), instead of the notion that reading is solely an activity based on decoding letters and words with the use of phonics. The article makes observation of a child’s reading comprehension process to highlight the child’s reading strengths and to correct common misconceptions about the reading process.

EMMA researchers use eye-tracking equipment to score a sample of readers from various age groups in different languages. The eye-tracker uses infrared light to capture the reader’s eye movements while reading a computer screen and a video recording captures the reader’s voice, while reading, in relation to real-time eye movements. This records miscues and is the basis for the eye-movement analysis.

Ali who is a second-grade female who has been previously taught reading based on the use of phonics. Ali is asked to read, comprehend and recall what she read. The purpose of this exercise is to ascertain her reading miscues. Ali attempts to self-correct her miscues by engaging the use of phonics by trying to sound out what she sees; however, she is unsuccessful and her reading is judged as inadequate. The article asserts that what the teachers hear and what the student sees, at this point, is contradictory. It is assumed that Ali is reading-deficient and not capable of learning from her reading. Thus, this is the basis for the research of EMMA.

The EMMA results for Ali show how she focuses on comprehension instead of sounding out letters and words. She also vocalizes her correction attempts when she miscues. The article explains that when teachers hear this, they may feel the need to correct her, but correction is not necessary. This is based on the premise that the reader understands her miscues and seeks to find meaning in her reading, as determined by her eye movements. This supports the argument that Ali’s reading process has its strengths because she uses strategy to attempt to make sure what she is reading makes sense. This is pointed out as strength in her reading process.  It also supports the concept that reading is not solely based on phonics. The articles states that Ali uses “other aspects, such as her syntactic knowledge, word meaning knowledge, linguistic knowledge of the structures possible in the language, and what the language means in the context of the story” (Brown J., Kim K., & O’Brien Ramirez, K., 2012, p. 213).

The article summarizes that perhaps it is inappropriate to judge the reading ability of early readers based on one singular aspect of reading such as phonics, and uses Ali’s EMMA example as a guide to prove that reading instruction should recognize how various reading process aspects are related and contribute to a reader’s ability. According to a reader like Ali’s eye movements, reading left-to-right, letter-by-letter and sound-by-sound may hinder reading ability and comprehension (Brown J., Kim K., & O’Brien Ramirez, K., 2012). However, this is how reading is taught in the U.S.  For example, syntax, as opposed to phonics, can only be used with attempting to read certain words such as the word Read. There are no phonics rules available to sound this word out. Therefore, the phonics rule is questionable in ascertaining the skill level of all readers.

The solution, as suggested in this article, is teacher awareness. The importance lies with a teacher’s ability to understand how children process what they read. Teacher awareness of how readers attempt to make sense of what they read will enable better teaching and coaching for the reading process and give more attention to strategic reading. EMMA results show that readers are active in seeking information while they read and not just passively reproducing text that they see.

This article thoroughly discusses the process of eye-movement and miscue analysis and how it relates to determining reading process strengths with certain readers. The article clearly points out the advantages of understanding how readers process information based on using reading strategies other than phonics rules. The strengths of this article are its thorough assessment of Ali’s reading ability via EMMA testing and its comprehensive break down of the results. The article also does an adequate job of explaining why it is important to base judgment of the reading process on various reading strategies employed by readers in an attempt to understand what they are reading. The article uses an excellent example of this by stating there are no phonics rules to sound out words like Read, and points out this is a syntax issue.

In contrast, I felt the article lacked in the area of offering a definitive solution to the problem of teachers not understanding that phonics is not the cure-all for seemingly deficient readers. The article suggests that teacher awareness is important but it does not explain how teachers can be trained or made more aware, and how they are to go about implementing new teaching strategies to better serve those students who miscue when reading.

The importance of understanding that the reading process is more thoroughly evaluated based on eye-movement and miscue analysis, and not only that of phonics (decoding letters and words) is apparent in this article. It is a way for teachers and educators to comprehend that reading instruction should be meaningful to early readers so that they may be successful in their learning and reading comprehension.

References

Brown, J., Kim, K., & O’Brien Ramirez, K. (2012). What a teacher hears, what a reader sees: Eye movements from phonics-taught second grader. Journal of Early Childhood Literacy. 12. DOI: 10.1177/1468798411417081.

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