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Almost 8 years old - still writing numbers/letters backwards


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#1 HSMWB

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 06:21 PM

What kind of help/ program would you do for an almost 8 year old girl who is still writing some numbers and letters backward? Not all the time, not with any consistency that I can figure out. In numbers it is mainly 7's and 3's but 5's and 2's. And for letters, all the usual suspects. When reading out loud she will sometimes 'b' for 'd' and the opposite. She also will say things like 'how' when the word is 'who' or mix up 'saw' and 'was' - which really irritate me because the story does not make sense with the wrong word, and yet half the time when I ask her to repeat the word while she or I is also pointing it, she will read it wrong again. Help, what can I do. I fell like I am being judged quite harshly by extended family about this and I really would like to help her move past it.

#2 Ellie

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 06:40 PM

What kind of help/ program would you do for an almost 8 year old girl who is still writing some numbers and letters backward? Not all the time, not with any consistency that I can figure out. In numbers it is mainly 7's and 3's but 5's and 2's. And for letters, all the usual suspects. When reading out loud she will sometimes 'b' for 'd' and the opposite. She also will say things like 'how' when the word is 'who' or mix up 'saw' and 'was' - which really irritate me because the story does not make sense with the wrong word, and yet half the time when I ask her to repeat the word while she or I is also pointing it, she will read it wrong again. Help, what can I do. I fell like I am being judged quite harshly by extended family about this and I really would like to help her move past it.

:grouphug:

What are you using to teach her to read and write?

Spalding and its spin-offs (SWR, Phonics Road, LOE) give specific instructions in spelling, correct forms for letters and numbers, and analyzing words for correct reading and spelling.

There's no point in being "irritated," BTW. :)

#3 HSMWB

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 07:28 PM

She went to a private pre-K and K that followed mostly a Montessori method for writing. Last year (1st) we have been using OPGTR for phonics, with Explode the Code, Beyond the Code, and First Language Lessons. We have been doing tons of reading out loud of different books, all kinds. Last school year I was also making hand writing work sheets for her to do copy work and such, the free on-line ones. She would write the letters properly when copying them, but then still mess up when it came time to write on her own (a la the copy work found in FLL, on in ETC).

I guess what I am wondering is, are the issues I'm describing, would something like Spalding be different and help correct the issue?

I know, irritation is not helpful, I am trying to work on that too :-) But I feel like I need to try an un-turn every stone in helping to resolve the issue. I also have not seen many of these programs in real life, and of course, budget is also an issue.

#4 HSMWB

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 07:30 PM

Oh, and we continued with those for now 2nd grade. She is almost finished with OPGTR, Explode the Code book 4, FLL2 about half way, and can read books like the American Girl books, or Magic Tree House when she feels like it.

#5 PhotoGal

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 07:57 PM

I bought a workbook last year - I think it was called "Correcting Reversals" or something like that. It helped (but did not completely cure) the reversals my dd was making. It might be worth a shot!

#6 monalisa

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 08:17 PM

I don't have any suggestions about reading, but if you want to continue with printing (vs. switching to cursive), you might try Handwriting Without Tears, because there is explicit instruction on how each letter is made that you can then use as a gentle reminder. For instance, there is "magic c", and then letters "a" and "d" start with "magic C". You might consider going to cursive now, because it is impossible to reverse d and b in cursive. I did use HWT cursive with my dd, but now sort of wish I'd used something else because it isn't the most attractive cursive (very vertical). At 7 and 8 my dd was still reversing numbers, but never does now. However, she does still reverse d and b a few times a week if she is printing. She is almost 10, and is a really good reader but has some fine motor skill issues.

Edited by monalisa, 11 October 2012 - 08:47 PM.


#7 NittanyJen

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 08:26 PM

What kind of help/ program would you do for an almost 8 year old girl who is still writing some numbers and letters backward? Not all the time, not with any consistency that I can figure out. In numbers it is mainly 7's and 3's but 5's and 2's. And for letters, all the usual suspects. When reading out loud she will sometimes 'b' for 'd' and the opposite. She also will say things like 'how' when the word is 'who' or mix up 'saw' and 'was' - which really irritate me because the story does not make sense with the wrong word, and yet half the time when I ask her to repeat the word while she or I is also pointing it, she will read it wrong again. Help, what can I do. I fell like I am being judged quite harshly by extended family about this and I really would like to help her move past it.


For what it's worth, my DS did this same thing when he was still in public school as a second grader. I was fighting for his IEP for other reasons than this, but I was worried about dyslexia (there were other indicators too, I thought) and they told me over and over, even at the good school we visited for four months, "No, not yet." I worked with him at home with Handwriting Without Tears, and hung in there with him.

He is now in fourth grade. We still do HWT. He does have a formal dx of dysgraphia, but the neurologist says that is not behind the reversals he was making; they were normal for his age (even though there were QUITE a lot of them and I didn't see them on any other kids papers in his classroom).

However, he no longer reverses his letters or numbers, and he reads just fine. Yes, he is still dysgraphic; he probably always will be and will have to rely on his OT training to be able to write well. But the reversals have resolved, and he is NOT dyslexic. He did find relief in learning to write cursive (it is harder to reverse in cursive) but he did get it.

Just be patient-- and tell the relatives in whatever manner is appropriate for your relationship and situation to kindly shut their traps and keep their unqualified opinions to themselves, as they are not nearly as clued in as they think they are. Try to remember that them complaining to you about this is THEIR problem, not your problem and definitely not your son's problem. Just because somebody not responsible for your son's education, however much they love your son, tells you there is a problem, does not mean there is a problem. Nobody can fault you for worrying (I certainly did, and I wasn't even homeschooling yet) and if there are additional indicators of a problem, a professional evaluation can even be in order. But in the homeschool world, beware of letting other people make their fears into your problems.

#8 airforcefamily

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 09:40 PM

Our 8 year old 3rd grader does this too but it's improving. I've let it go except for gentle reminders and tracing magna tab boards. Learning cursive has helped. Every so often I'll realize a certain letter or number is no longer being reversed.

#9 Mommyof4ks

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 09:43 PM

We trace numbers and letters that my son, 9, has issues with. I is getting better. It just takes lots of repetition, and one day it will click. He is down to ony a couple of letters and one number.

#10 Ellie

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 09:59 PM

She went to a private pre-K and K that followed mostly a Montessori method for writing. Last year (1st) we have been using OPGTR for phonics, with Explode the Code, Beyond the Code, and First Language Lessons. We have been doing tons of reading out loud of different books, all kinds. Last school year I was also making hand writing work sheets for her to do copy work and such, the free on-line ones. She would write the letters properly when copying them, but then still mess up when it came time to write on her own (a la the copy work found in FLL, on in ETC).

Those are all good things. :)

I guess what I am wondering is, are the issues I'm describing, would something like Spalding be different and help correct the issue?

Yes, it could. It *could* be her age, and there *could* be other, more serious things, like some sort of learning difficulty, but yes, Spalding *could* help. It just works differently than other reading/spelling methods.

I know, irritation is not helpful, I am trying to work on that too :-) But I feel like I need to try an un-turn every stone in helping to resolve the issue. I also have not seen many of these programs in real life, and of course, budget is also an issue.

:grouphug:

Spalding is not expensive. The manual (WRTR) is $20.20, the phonogram cards are $14 (rounded off :)); the Spelling Assessment Manual (not vitally necessary, but helpful) is $13. That's all you need (although some add the McCall-Crabbs books later). They are all one-time purchases.

#11 FairProspects

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 10:16 PM

What kind of help/ program would you do for an almost 8 year old girl who is still writing some numbers and letters backward? Not all the time, not with any consistency that I can figure out. In numbers it is mainly 7's and 3's but 5's and 2's. And for letters, all the usual suspects. When reading out loud she will sometimes 'b' for 'd' and the opposite. She also will say things like 'how' when the word is 'who' or mix up 'saw' and 'was' - which really irritate me because the story does not make sense with the wrong word, and yet half the time when I ask her to repeat the word while she or I is also pointing it, she will read it wrong again. Help, what can I do. I fell like I am being judged quite harshly by extended family about this and I really would like to help her move past it.


These are red flags for dyslexia, especially the bolded. I would seriously start looking into an evaluation. The writing reversals can be caused by many things and may or may not be something to worry about at her age.

And :grouphug:. I do know how frustrating it is to have a kid who does this and misses all those little words, but really they are doing the best they can and they just don't process it the same as the rest of us (even though ds knows the phonogram /th/ cold, when reading in context he reads it as /wh/ every. single. time.).

#12 4blessingmom

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 10:55 PM

Completely ignore what extended family says. Their opinion does not matter, so don't let it effect your decisions.




I agree that you just gave some common markers for dyslexia in your post. She can't help it. I promise that she is more irritated by it than you are.;):grouphug: (Shelter her from extended family who feel obliged to comment on her reading/writing. The last thing she needs is their criticism.)


Get her eyes checked by a developmental optometrist. Look for visual processing problems. Sometimes these look like dyslexia...or go hand-in-hand with it.


Look for reading methods that teach to the *visual* aspect. As much as I respect Spalding, it does not. It teaches spelling and phonics and handwriting like no other!:D But, it works on the assumption that kids will spontaneously read after learning to spell. IME - the child who sees "was" as "saw" and "b" as either "p, q, or d" and "u" as "n" and writes reversals in all sorts of random ways (1/2 the "a"s are backwards and 1/2 are not....1/2 of "r"s are backwards and 1/2 are not...) do not spontaneously improve reading with spelling b/c they do not *SEE* the same things as most people when looking at the written page. (And, Spaldings handwriting cues don't work for these kids either...b/c they can see the clockface with the 2 at 10...and it's all the same to them.)




Dancing Bears Reading books can be seen online. I don't know how well your dd is reading, but even if she's reading pretty well I encourage you to study the teacher's notes in those books. The cursor and the flashback methods are *excellent* tools for the children who need visual help. IOW - even if you don't need a reading program, try those techniques in your current reading time. (Uncovering "saw" one sound at a time will prevent inverting the word before she has a chance to start.)


As far as writing goes, give it up. Try cursive. It's not *impossible* to reverse letters in cursive (don't ask how I know...:001_huh::lol:), but it's much less likely. FairProspects touched on something I've seen in my ds9...reversing phonograms. Mine knows his phonograms cold too (He did 2.5 years of a Spalding spin-off program.;)), but will write "shirt" as "hsirt" or "shrit" or "hsrit"....notice he has the phonograms there and in the correct sound-order. He just inverts the letters of the phonograms randomly. (He does this much less often now, but last year it was *bad!*) When I ask him to read it back to me, he sees "shirt." His eyes do not see like mine do. (He also mirror writes extensively...and beautifully...I should really start him on Hebrew.:lol:)


I would use a cursive program that always starts on the baseline, like Cursive First. (I don't like the worksheets, but I do like the teacher's directions....and it is essentially like Spalding's cursive directions.) I use StartWrite to generate my own handwriting/copywork pages based on the child's needs. My 9yo, who has struggled, has beautiful cursive handwriting. His print is "blech" and still full of reversals...though visualizing the cursive d before printing d (and so on) does help.



For numbers, have her copy 0-9 at the top of every math page before she starts. Then she will have those numbers at the top of the page to refer to as she works through the math page.

#13 NittanyJen

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 11:39 PM

I forgot to mention that one thing I *did* do with my son was not ignore the issue. I did correct his errors as he made them, and made him (patiently, gently) rewrite things correctly. It took a lot of time and a lot of patience-- well over a year of rewriting 13 as 13 instead of 31. Reminding him to say no instead of on, and to write it that was as well. Pointing out that a backwards 2 could kind of look like a 5, and that 13 and 31 are not the same number, so that yes, it did matter, I was not just being picky.

We used a system-- if I found a reversal (incluing hting instead of thing or a backwards 'p') I would put a green felt-marker "dot" under each thing that needed to be corrected, and hand it back to him. Sometimes, there were quite a few. If he wanted me to grade his paper with those items as correct, he had to fix all of those errors before starting his regular assignments the next day (when still in public school, I checked his homework for them and did this too; for him, it was a chance to make things right; it was also communication between myself, the teacher, and the special ed staff regarding how many errors he was continuing to make, because they saw a correct paper, but they also had a record of how many green dots were on the homework).

The reinforcement seemed to help quite a bit over time. We never made it about making him feel badly about himself.

Again, I was convinced he had dyslexia, and I would never try to dissuade a parent with concerns out of getting something checked out (I am a big proponent of "follow the Mommy gut"). But I was wrong; there is no dyslexia, no need for vision therapy. It turns out that it really was normal for his age, and he is now a voracious reader, and is learning to manage his dysgraphia without making the reversals of digits or blends or making letters backwards.

But normal or not, I do not regret correcting him and helping him to work on it.

#14 HSMWB

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Posted 12 October 2012 - 12:57 AM

Look for reading methods that teach to the *visual* aspect. As much as I respect Spalding, it does not. It teaches spelling and phonics and handwriting like no other!:D But, it works on the assumption that kids will spontaneously read after learning to spell. IME - the child who sees "was" as "saw" and "b" as either "p, q, or d" and "u" as "n" and writes reversals in all sorts of random ways (1/2 the "a"s are backwards and 1/2 are not....1/2 of "r"s are backwards and 1/2 are not...) do not spontaneously improve reading with spelling b/c they do not *SEE* the same things as most people when looking at the written page. (And, Spaldings handwriting cues don't work for these kids either...b/c they can see the clockface with the 2 at 10...and it's all the same to them.)
-snip-

I would use a cursive program that always starts on the baseline, like Cursive First. (I don't like the worksheets, but I do like the teacher's directions....and it is essentially like Spalding's cursive directions.) I use StartWrite to generate my own handwriting/copywork pages based on the child's needs. My 9yo, who has struggled, has beautiful cursive handwriting. His print is "blech" and still full of reversals...though visualizing the cursive d before printing d (and so on) does help.


This is exactly the kinds of things that she will do when writing on her own. She copies them perfectly, but when left with the pencil to do what her brain says, you just never know exactly how it is going to turn out on the page. And it is not all the time by any means.

Do you mean the Cursive First by Elizabeth FitzGerald?

#15 rokaie

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Posted 12 October 2012 - 04:17 AM

My son, 7 years old, too: he writes '3' backward, he reads the short words backward, he reads 'b' for 'd' or 'p' or 'q' and the opposite, but I don't know what to do. If he doesn't improve by the next spring, I think I'll look into an evaluation for dyslexia.


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