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Learning Needs In English Ethical Statement Education Essay

In order to ensure my research was ethical I began by consulting the British Educational Research Association guidelines to understand requirements for working with children. I ensured that I asked the child's permission to perform my research using them, explaining what this would include, prior to starting the session. I sought permission from both the child and the school to record the session using a dictaphone.

Following the BERA guidelines I will ensure anonymity of all information, both of the child and of the school and its staff, password protecting and disposing correctly of any material collected upon completing the research investigation.

Preparatory research

Following conversations with the class teacher and observations of the children, Child A was chosen due to his willingness to discuss his work and explain his understanding of different concepts. He was also chosen due to the fact that a change in routine had not, in the past, impacted upon his psychological or emotional state. This meant that it was more ethically sound to work with Child A as it would not affect his learning or have any other detrimental effects.

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Prior to conducting the miscue analysis work was done with Child A to gain a better understanding of the child's attainment levels in literacy, after consulting his current and past targets, which may give an insight into the child's reading ability and how to develop and improve it.

This work included listening to Child A read each day for seven days to gather an understanding of any common misconceptions, particular words he either struggled to pronounce or decode and to develop an insight into ways in which I could broach with the child, his ideas to develop and improve his reading whilst maintaining his motivation, self esteem and willingness to continue the session.

Work with child A also included spellings as, a good understanding and capability to spell, both regular and irregular words, suggesting his the capability to both blend and segment phonemes to allow them to both read words and spell them.

Gathering data

During the days preceding the miscue analysis session when working with Child A and listening to him read it became clear that he was a confident reader using blending and segmenting when presented with a word he was unfamiliar with or hadn't seen before. This gave me an insight into the way the child read showing that he relied heavily upon phonics as a tool to aid his reading still and made guesses of words based upon the sounds made when blending phonemes he could decode and not considering if the word attempted made sense within the sentence and text he was reading suggesting he struggled with understanding the context of the text he was putting the word into (Department of Education and skills, 2006), It also became clear that it took two to three days of being exposed to a word he couldn't decode, before he began to recognise it without prompts or support.

Throughout the seven days that I listened to Child A read I also observed that the child read rapidly without using punctuation as cues to indicate for him to pause and take a breath.

To check his ability to blend and segment words as well as to recognise phonemes within words as they are spoken I worked with Child A on spelling. I asked him to spell both phonically regular and phonically irregular words. This allowed me great insight into the fact that the child could spell phonically irregular words that he would be familiar with and phonically decodable words but could not spell those which were phonically un-decodable that it would have been less likely that the child was familiar with.

Through observations of the child during lessons, when working on individual writing, it was evident that unless concentrating on a word when writing it, the spelling was usually incorrect even though when asked to spell or read the same word the child could do so correctly.


Child A's struggle to read words when they were within the text but ability to read them when they were out of a sentence can be compared to his ability to spell observed in prior sessions. When looking at evidence presented during observations on Child A's ability to both read and spell, it becomes clear that when focusing on a particular word, Child A showed an increased ability to spell or read the word when compared to being presented with the task of either reading the word or writing the word within a sentence or piece of text.

From observations of Child A reading prior to the miscue analysis and the data collected during the miscue analysis it is evident that Child A, when reading a text, does not take full stops and commas into account and pauses only when he is forced to take a breath. This could be suggested as a contributor toward or the cause of his substitutions, omissions and mispronunciation as Child A appears to rush when reading aloud, and although remaining fluent makes mistakes, that when re-tested later on show that he can read the words he hadn't indicated an ability to when reading the text. From the prior observations I then planned to challenge this to improve his reading by getting him to understand how using commas and full stops can make it easier when he reads aloud. I did this by asking him what he thought made someone a good reader. Child A seemed unable to answer and his body language suggested he was worried about not being able to do so. From this I changed the question prompting him to work with me and then giving him an example of how someone might read something to give him a further prompt towards an answer to encourage him and build on his confidence.

Analysis and critical reflection

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Following the miscue analysis and prior sessions it is evident that Child A can read high frequency words and also has the ability to spell these correctly when asked to in a task.

It can also be suggested from observations and the data collected during the miscue analysis that Child A has a good understanding of phonics and an ability to blend and segment words to enable him to read them. From these and sessions of work done with Child A it can also be suggested that he has a good knowledge of spellings and using blending and segmenting can spell, or make an attempt appropriate to the phonemes he segments from the word, unfamiliar phonically decodable words. It can also be suggested from both observations and interventions that Child A has a good knowledge of spellings of phonically un-decodable words that he is familiar with.

However it could be suggested from the data collected that Child A, although having a good understanding of phonics, struggles to do so with fluency (Hudson et al, 2010) when reading a piece of text and therefore guesses, substitutes or omits the word. This could be due to the child feeling he would take too long to decode the word accurately causing him to guess or substitute another word (Hudson et al, 2010).

Child A seems to struggle to read words he is unfamiliar with if they cannot be read through blending and segmenting as this is the only strategy, when observed, that he uses. It is clear that many of the phonically un-decodable words within the text that he can read are high frequency words within the book that he will have had previous exposure to and may have be told before. It is unclear whether this will have been the case as there is no evidence to suggest either way within his reading diary and therefore it is difficult to use this as further evidence to support or dispute previous evidence that suggests he can only read phonically decodable words.

When observing Child A whilst he read it became clear that when trying to read a word that he was unfamiliar with Child A used a single strategy approach of trying to decode the word into phonemes and then blend them together to enable him to say the word. This suggested, along with his reading level, that he struggled as a reader and did not understand the concept of phonically un-decodable or 'tricky' words (2008, Graham & Kelly) although he had a high level of word recognition (Rose, 2006).

This, and previous data collected, also relates to the National Literacy strategy's core learning expected of children in both year two and three. It showed that within the strand of 'word recognition: decoding and encoding' Child A seemed to have achieved the year two targets, being able to read high frequency and medium frequency words fluently and without support, knew how to work out phonically decodable words using blending and segmenting and could read less familiar texts fluently (Department of Education and skills, 2006), when work was scaffolded to remind him to use commas and full-stops as cues to pause and take a breath.

Further evidence, supporting that collected during prior observations suggesting the need for further interventions with Child A to support his reading, was evident during the miscue analysis section. That collected prior to the session suggesting that child A struggled when reading, due to the use of a single strategy to read unfamiliar words (2008, Graham & Kelly), was supported by Child A's lack of comprehension of the text when asked questions after reading it.

The questions I asked following Child A reading the text highlighted the area for development, indicating that he struggled with comprehension, understanding the meaning of the text as a whole and being able to remember what the texts was about when asked questions when his knowledge was applied to the Searchlights model in the National Literacy strategy suggesting he may struggle with the language comprehension processes (Rose, 2006).

This lack of comprehension, however, may be suggested to be due to the fact that he was reading the text too fast and therefore not processing what any of the text actually meant. It could also have been due to the child feeling overwhelmed by the fact that he knew he was being recorded.

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When looking at the expectations of a year two child within the strand entitled 'Understanding and Interpreting texts' it seemed that Child A had not met the expectations of a year two child yet, struggling to discuss what happened in the text he read (Department of Education and skills, 2006), although he could remember some common characters who occurred frequently within the book which he would have come into contact with before the session.

I therefore, after asking him to read a second piece of text, scaffolding the intervention to encourage him to read using the full-stops and commas as cues to take a breath and discussing how 'not rushing' could make him a better reader, asked questions relating to what he had just read. This time the child could answer each of the questions, although when the second question asked for more detail he replied with a simplified version of what had occurred within the story, indicating that his comprehension of the text had increased, by slowing down his rate of speech to allow him to process each word and the information it was presented with.

Further changes in his reading were also evident, following the intervention, when he began to pause at full stops and commas. Child A did not omit or substitute any words and decoded them accurately and fluently suggesting his skills in this aspect are not an issue in need of further development, as suggested by his reading of the first text in the miscue analysis session (Hudson et al, 2010). His body language also changed as he did not use his finger to follow the words as he read although this could be suggested to be because he was getting used to the idea that he was being recorded.

When asking questions I began with closed, recall questions which required simple answers to indicate the Child A's knowledge about the text he had just read (Hayes, 2006). When he could not answer these I continued with prompting questions (Hayes, 2006) giving him a more supported question with information to help him answer and maintain his confidence. When questioning Child A to discover what he thought made someone a good reader I asked open, productive, synopsis questions to encourage his thinking, lead him to set himself targets and to encourage him to remember what he had been taught previously when reading to the teacher.

My interactions with Child A were aimed to encourage him. I used rhetorical questions as well as closed questions to ensure that the child did not feel like he had to participate in the session or pressurised into continuing (Hayes, 2006)(Arnold, 1984). I praised him regularly and when he seemed anxious or worried changed the question giving him further information to prompt him to remember. I also adapted further questions to make them slightly easier, drawing on information that he would have frequently come into contact with previously in the book to build his confidence again. When discussing information with him, as his body language changed when he couldn't answer the question I encouraged him to work with me to answer it and suggested creating a visual representation to motivate him and to create a multisensory approach to answering the question, giving him a visual representation. I also modelled an example to stimulate ideas making it simple and clear so that he could begin to answer questions and generate answers. After the child had formulated an answer I then recast the answer (Ellis, 2009) to give further information and correction to it, repeating it back to the child whilst preventing any lowering of the child's confidence which may have occurred if had told the child that he was wrong and corrected him (Ellis, 2009). I aimed to adapt and scaffold the session to meet the needs of the of the child, giving him enough time to formulate an answer to the questions but not leave the child if they looked like they were becoming distressed. I reminded the child at the beginning of the session that he could stop at any time and ensured that I remained ethical throughout.

I scaffolded my session with Child A beginning by asking the child if he would like to join me and participate in the session. I acted as 'the more knowing other' (Robson, 2006) aiming toward the child's zone of proximal development. I structured the session in several stages which would begin with Child A demonstrating his current reading techniques and ability as well as his knowledge through his reading of the text and answering questions. I then progressed on from the section of Direction Maintenance (Bruner, 2006) to Marking Critical Features as well as a directional task, where I asked the child an open question and modelled an answer to direct them toward the focus of the task, developing the child's reading beginning with the use of cues such as commas. These aimed therefore toward Child A's ZPD where the child could read without support and gain knowledge from the text which enabled him to answer questions.

Word count excluding references and title: 2497

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