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When They Write 'b' for 'd' and 'p' for 'q'


Letter reversals are fairly common in young children just learning how to write. You shouldn't get too upset about them, but it's a good idea to point out the correct way to write the letters the child may be reversing BEFORE it becomes a habit. The errors made in decoding and writing in the early grades can turn into a form of dyslexia if intervention isn't quick and effective.


Here's a great way to help with two of the most common reversals. Do you have a simple hand mirror? Give it to the child. Have the child pronounce the phonogram /b/. See how the child's lips form a straight horizontal line? Have the child bounce his or her lips together in a solid /b/ sound, making a firm line with the lips. That's a clue that the child should write the line first, when writing a /b/, and THEN write the circle. Have the child write a couple of /b/'s while pronouncing the letter's name.


Now have the child look into the mirror and say the phonogram /d/. See how the lips form an oval, rather than a line? Have the child form some ovals with his or her lips into the mirror. See how you can't say the letter /d/ with your lips forming a line? That's a reminder that with the letter "d," the child is supposed to write the oval first, and then add the line. Have the child write some /d/'s while saying the letter aloud.


Do the same thing with "p's" and "q's."


Isn't phonics great? Learning to read and write in a multisensory approach - using all the senses - is the simple, effective way to teach kids to keep their letters straight.



By Susan Darst Williams Grammar Granny 007 2006


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