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b and d reversals

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Those reversals are typical for that age.  Regression is another matter; consider a vision checkup.

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My six year old son is an emerging reader. He can read short vowel words and a few sight words in simple sentences. Like most young readers, he would occasional mix up b's and d's but lately he seems even more confused by them to the point of writing a "b" in his name instead of a "d". I taped a printed Bb and Dd to his desk so he has a visual reminder to help with those two letters. I guess what is really bothering me is that he "regressed" from writing his name correctly to incorrectly. I will take any encouragement and tips you have to offer.

In my experience, letter and number reversal were completely normal.  I ignored it, and they all outgrew it by the time they were around 8.  (In my kids' cases, number reversal was more common because they learned to write using cursive.)

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When he could write his name correctly, was he writing letter b's for anything? Could it be that he didn't have anything else to confuse with the letter d with at first and now that he is writing other letters he is doing typical reversals?

 

Was he taught to write b and d with different starting points? Letter b starts at the top line, comes down to the bottom line, then does a bunny hop to the middle line and tucks under. But the letter d starts just below the middle line goes around like the letter o then when you get back to where you started, go straight up to the top line then trace straight back down to the bottom line. I find that reversals of b and d are less of an issue when the two letters are written completely differently.

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While this is developmentally normal, it is good for children this age to have a vision checkup every single year.

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You could have him do an activity (and hang it somewhere he can see it) of turning the word bed into a visual with the pillow on the b.  That has helped my dyslexics think it through.

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For mine, it ALWAYS worked to make them 'say' the sound as you write it, and when reading it say it out loud.  When they say the sound /b/ their lips make a line-- the line comes first.  When they say the sound /d/ their tongue is curved in their mouth-- the curve comes first.  Our boys never had a problem after that lesson.

 

 

Pam

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The bed visual never worked for my kids. I recently saw something that might have, though. 

 

 

 

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bed worked for my guy. Draw a bed. Then write over it with the word bed (the word itself sort of looks like an acutal bed.).

 

The b is at the top of the bed and the d at the bottom. It takes them a few moments to think it through, so give them time. After thinking it through, they can remember how to form the b vs the d.

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All of my kids reversed b and d. My oldest reversed until late into 2nd grade and S a 6th grader placed into 10th grade English. My middle never stopped but he had several other symptoms and we had him tested and he’s both dyslexic and dysgraphic. But he had so many other res flags. My youngest is 7 and still reverses but I notice it’s much less frequent than it was a few months ago. She will be 8 in March. She’s reading above grade level, coincidentally, so I don’t suspect issues, although she’s not the natural speller her older sister is.

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At his age, it is completely normal.  My eight year old still does this some, but he's improving, and my pediatrician is not concerned.  Even my 12 year old slipped up this morning, though that is rare for him.  

 

I would even say some regression may occur as he is learning so much at this age, but if it doesn't start to get better, then I might be concerned.  Definitely bring it up at his checkup and eye appt. just in case there are other factors we are not aware of.  In the meantime, just continually remind him.  I tell my sons, "b's have bellies and d's don't."  

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Totally normal for that age.

 

My 13 year old still does it on occasion (but thankfully it's gotten more rare now). He still did it a lot at age 11. He's not dyslexic or anything. He was actually an early reader and is very good at reading. He's never had any issue with reversals in reading. Just writing. And while he was a bit slower to learn to write, he's pretty normal in that department now.

 

My child who had problems with reading and writing (and was diagnosed this year with dysgraphia) never reversed his letters. Go figure!

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Two of my kiddos have reversed b and d when reading. I always say "Line first is b" as a reminder, and at first would add that if it isn't a line first, but a curve, it's not a b. My older is now reminding the youngest of that. It took about 6-9 months for it to really sink in, but the same reminder given over and over again meant that they started catching it themselves and fixing it, even though it took awhile to completell disappear when reading.

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Only time helped mine. I found when tasks were cognitively challenging in other ways they were more likely to make writing errors like this. Writing a name doesn't seem challenging but maybe the rest of the task was challenging or mentally fatiguing somehow.

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For mine, it ALWAYS worked to make them 'say' the sound as you write it, and when reading it say it out loud.  When they say the sound /b/ their lips make a line-- the line comes first.  When they say the sound /d/ their tongue is curved in their mouth-- the curve comes first.  Our boys never had a problem after that lesson.

 

 

Pam

 

This.

 

I tried all sorts of methods. Someone here linked this site for me and I found this article on telling b from d. It is so absolutely wonderfully magically helpful that I printed it out and kept it with me to remind myself of how to do the lesson. I didn't actually need the reminder. Now I taught my younger two kids the last few years of preschool and kindergarten, right from the start, with this method. No looking at hands or beds or derrieres, or anything else. Just say the sound and notice what your lips are doing. Or vice-versa, when reading, if you run into a line, make your lips into a line; if you run into the ball first, make your lips rounded. Works for p and q as well, which my kids also struggled with!

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I tried all sorts of methods. Someone here linked this site for me and I found this article on telling b from d. It is so absolutely wonderfully magically helpful that I printed it out and kept it with me to remind myself of how to do the lesson. I didn't actually need the reminder. 

 

Thanks for linking to my article "Telling b from d" at OnTrack Reading Amy. I use that technique with every child I work with who has reversal issues and the problem disappears within a couple of lessons.  I credit Romalda Spalding for the idea. I took it straight from her book, The Writing Road to Reading. I wish all the other methods would be discarded, frankly, because they just distract from the process of reading and writing. This one is completely tactile and doesn't have a child putting down their pencil to make a bed, or tossing a bed into the storyline, for that matter. I work with mostly 2nd to 5th graders and all of the kids who still reverse b/d have heard at least one, if not more, of the other methods and continue to reverse them. Spalding's method works consistently.

 

I would just like to point out, though, that the circle on the letter "d" should be associated with the "circle" your tongue makes with the roof of your mouth when you say the /d/ sound. I tell a child to say /d/ and think about his tongue and how he could fit a gum ball in the space he was creating with his tongue and the roof of his mouth.

 

As the article indicates, if the child is taught to form the letters correctly (line first for "b"; circle first for "d"), then the method has the advantage of working for both reading and writing.

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For mine, it ALWAYS worked to make them 'say' the sound as you write it, and when reading it say it out loud.  When they say the sound /b/ their lips make a line-- the line comes first.  When they say the sound /d/ their tongue is curved in their mouth-- the curve comes first.  Our boys never had a problem after that lesson.

 

 

Pam

 

Yep, this worked for us too, even when nothing else did.

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All About Learning Press has a good free resource with suggestions for this:  https://blog.allaboutlearningpress.com/letter-reversals/

 

One I'd add to it, is to make a small paper car, and then right a d on large lined paper.  Have the car travel down the lines toward the d, and when it gets to it, go up the hill and crash into the stem of the d.   Repeat "Up the hill and crash, that's a d."

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I wouldn't worry about any of it.  

 

Most little kids learn their names as a sort of "symbol" or drawing, well before they have mastered actual letter formation.  I would guess he is now understanding his name to be a series of letters and not just a symbol, so that's actually forward progress in understanding of how writing works.  And since he now writes his name as a series of letters, the reversals are just going to be part of the learning.  

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Yep, this worked for us too, even when nothing else did.

 

Ditto, this worked way better than bed!  I think the bed idea requires such a lot of thinking, while in the middle of thinking of something else.  Whereas forming the sound with their lips is just a natural part of what they are already doing.  

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Not to try to hijack the OP, but my one son, who was VERY bright, told me, when he was an adult, he was about 15 before he didn't have trouble any more deciphering between the written digits 11 and 12.

 

I never knew!

 

Pam

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Someone on the boards once told me that, as they walk along in the direction you read, "b" has a belly, "d" has a derriere.  

 

 

It has worked well for my children, including my dyslexic and dysgraphic son.  And learning what "derriere" means is always a big hit, too.   :laugh:

Edited by Lotsoflittleducklings
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Hmmm....not sure what happened to the op's comments.  

 

My youngest just turned 14 and she tells me she still has to often stop and think which way to make a b and d.  When she was younger, I showed her the bed idea.  In watching that video alibild posted, I never realized people actually made the b and d with their hands in order to form the bed (and I never heard of turning that upside down to make a pig).  We just wrote the word "bed"...you can see the b is the headboard and the d is the footboard (you can even throw on a little pillow on the bed) and when you look at it and say the word bed, the b comes before the d in the word.  I hope that makes sense.  I always thought it worked well...but who knows...now that I find out my 14 year old still has trouble with it.   :lol:  I'm going to show her the video with the c d and the honey bee.  I thought that was a clever idea.  

 

 

Edited by BatmansWife
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