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NoraMargaret

Suggestions for letter-flipping and poor spelling?

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Greetings everyone!

I've been reading the forums for a while but am just getting my feet wet with homeschooling our 7yo son. He's in 1st grade, technically, though we are transitioning him out of school in part because he's all over the map with his abilities. He's doing 4th grade math and middle/high school level science, reads well, but struggles a lot with writing.

His school took the approach that any writing was good, regardless of spelling/letter formation, and he was never taught to do either properly (e.g. he forms many letters "bottom up" instead of from the top line down). He flips many letters--not just b/d but also a, c, s, p, q, and a few others occasionally. I worked with him last summer to teach him cursive which helps a lot (he doesn't flip when writing in cursive) but that slows him down and his teachers encouraged him to print in school throughout the year. He is slow at writing in general, because he struggles with spelling and tends toward being a perfectionist, so he is afraid of making mistakes.

We are a few lessons in to Rod and Staff spelling, which is very gentle, but so far the words are a bit too easy (he can spell out most CVC words). I assume it will pick up in complexity? Is there a program that teaches more explicit rules? And is there something that will help with letter-flipping apart from just insisting on cursive?

Thanks for any and all suggestions!

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Welcome to forums!

All about Spelling teaches the rules and Saxon phonics as well.  

Now that your ds is home and getting daily work with you his letter flipping may straighten out.   My ds is 7 and he still flips numbers and letters some especially on Mondays. 

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Cursive has worked really well for my letter flipper, I require it exclusively for assignments even though it is slower and she prefers to print.  She also struggles with forming numbers correctly so I literally sit next to her when she is doing her written math work to correct immediately as soon as she puts her pen in the wrong place.

At that age I have found spelling via dictation and oral spelling with the free Webster's Speller to be a great way to meet the child exactly where they are at without spending any money on finding the "right" curriculum.  Barefoot Meandering has a free spelling journal that has the rules written out and I just use those to explain whatever word the child struggles with.

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We had the same issue in school. We did some Handwriting Without Tears workbooks (just printing so far, although we'll probably do cursive), and I made sure to fix it whenever she did it during her work. It went away pretty quick, since there wasn't an underlying problem on her end -- just forgetting and not having her work checked. 

Oh, and at least for my perfectionist daughter, having me nearby and asking me how to spell things cured her of being reluctant to write -- if she didn't know how to write something down, she just asked :-). 

Edited by square_25
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Letter flipping was common at that age for my oldest son. I printed out a chart of all his letters and numbers in D'Nealian and worked with him on understanding the little arrows and numbers to know where to start each letter. He called this paper his "letter map." We took the extra time daily in all subjects until he had them memorized and no longer needed his map. He still pulls it out for cursive, though.

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Thank you all so much! This is all helpful advice (and it's nice to know he's not alone in this struggle!). 

I suppose I will keep up with the cursive, but it may be worth it to go back to some remedial manuscript lessons and at least teach him how to form the letters correctly. It kills me every time I see him start an "a" from the tiny stem at the bottom end. 

I'll look into All About Spelling and Handwriting without Tears. I also love the idea of "letter maps"--that's just what he needs. He also flips numbers, especially 3s and 5s, so I'm hoping since I'm now here looking over what he's doing and correcting as needed he can get them down. 

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I looked into Handwriting Without Tears when my son was going through this stage. It was similar enough to D'Nealian in style and concept but a lot more expensive. I'll try to scan and upload a copy of our "letter map" for you. I keep it in a protective sleeve taped to his desk for reference.

As for spelling, we're enjoying R&S this year because it reminds him of the rules for spelling and reviews previous words throughout. It's probably not as rigorous as other curriculums, but it works for us and he just moves ahead faster. He's currently working a full grade ahead with this. We do lots of practice/drill with Banangrams.

Scan.pdf

Edited by Servant4Christ
uploaded letter map
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I’m just jumping in here to offer some perspective for those who may be reading along and stressing about the spelling beast...

I only have one son (so one pancake), and he struggles immensely with spelling.  I found dictation to be invaluable in helping him learn to spell at a functional level.  I finally gave up ever getting him to correctly form his letters.

I’m ashamed to admit that I wasted countless tears over his spelling.  I felt that I was a failure as a mother and a teacher.  I felt that he was doomed to end up in prison or living on the streets because of his poor spelling skills...I truly wasted a lot of my life terrified about his poor spelling!!!

Now he is a seventeen year old young man who is heavily recruited by top colleges.  He has great SAT I and SAT II scores. He has worked in a paid internship in his field. He has made top scores on AP tests and handwritten essays. He has had success in community college courses.  All this, and he is barely a functional speller.

I encourage you to continue to work on spelling with your children, but please keep this perspective: it’s just a skill.  Honestly, the hours I sunk into trying to teach this child to spell are hours I wish I had used for other things.  

It’s really not worth losing sleep over...wish I had known that when my son was young.

For what it’s worth...

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R&S will pick up more rules in the 3 book, and then it picks up heavier in the 4 book. 2 is just a gentle introduction. 🙂

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Fwiw my youngest is "ahead" everywhere but writing and spelling. He uses Writing Road to Reading, which is very parent intensive, but it keeps him moving in a forward direction. All his siblings used the R&S series through the grade 6 book but he needed super explicit. 

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On 2/10/2020 at 10:26 AM, Servant4Christ said:

I looked into Handwriting Without Tears when my son was going through this stage. It was similar enough to D'Nealian in style and concept but a lot more expensive. I'll try to scan and upload a copy of our "letter map" for you. I keep it in a protective sleeve taped to his desk for reference.

As for spelling, we're enjoying R&S this year because it reminds him of the rules for spelling and reviews previous words throughout. It's probably not as rigorous as other curriculums, but it works for us and he just moves ahead faster. He's currently working a full grade ahead with this. We do lots of practice/drill with Banangrams.

Scan.pdf 453.39 kB · 1 download

 Thank you so much for this!

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On 2/11/2020 at 9:51 PM, SilverMoon said:

R&S will pick up more rules in the 3 book, and then it picks up heavier in the 4 book. 2 is just a gentle introduction. 🙂

Oh, this is great to know--thanks!

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Rod and Staff is good.

Have you ever heard of Toe by Toe? This is a resource that can be used with dyslexic kids of all ages. 

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Handwriting without Tears for the flipping.  It's a normal stage for that age.  For math, I had the correct numbers at the top of each worksheet page we did for reference.  The little chalkboard with the smiley face in the corner really helped my children stop letter flipping.

For spelling overview of rules, you could work through my syllables spell success program.

http://www.thephonicspage.org/On Reading/syllablesspellsu.html

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All About Spelling has been a great fit here. Every lesson he gets practice spelling both verbally & on paper (plus with phonogram tiles if you so choose). Every lesson reviews both mastered & unmastered content. Every lesson he is writing complete sentences, which translates directly into his independent writing.

The only draw-back is that if I hadn’t found the books used for a great price, it would be getting expensive as he will have completed 3 levels by the end of this year. 

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I agree with others on All About Spelling...it's great for teaching specific rules.

As for the letter formations, I suggest some PrintPath (you can search for it on Teacher's pay teachers).   I used it to teach my son and it worked really well.   "Lowercase at Last" was what I used because he was pretty good with his upper case letters, but needed work with a lot of his lower-case ones when I pulled him out of school.

This one is pretty good for fixing letter formations too (it's meant to be done in 2nd grade to sort of address any problems that have arisen):  https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/2nd-Grade-Handwriting-Instruction-and-Handwriting-Practice-HWT-STYLE-FONT-3218336

They also have a dinosaur themed handwriting program now which looks like it teaches the same things as their other, but it uses dinosaurs, which might be motivating if you have a dino loving kid.

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20 hours ago, goldenecho said:



As for the letter formations, I suggest some PrintPath (you can search for it on Teacher's pay teachers).   I used it to teach my son and it worked really well.   "Lowercase at Last" was what I used because he was pretty good with his upper case letters, but needed work with a lot of his lower-case ones when I pulled him out of school.

This one is pretty good for fixing letter formations too (it's meant to be done in 2nd grade to sort of address any problems that have arisen):  https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/2nd-Grade-Handwriting-Instruction-and-Handwriting-Practice-HWT-STYLE-FONT-3218336

They also have a dinosaur themed handwriting program now which looks like it teaches the same things as their other, but it uses dinosaurs, which might be motivating if you have a dino loving kid.

Wow wow wow, I checked out PrintPath before I did my usual Tuesday afternoon session of helping a handful of kindergartners with various school work.  SO MANY COOL THINGS including the dino letters -- we used one of those today.  Plus a couple of the mazes.  And, yes, the BIG HIT of the afternoon: The hole punch activities.

Why did no one ever tell me the way to engage 5-6 year olds in any sort of learning was to hand them a simple printout and a hole punch? It was MAGIC. They adored finding beginning sounds, ending sounds, the letters of their names. They squeezed those hole punches so many times that I was reminded of weightlifters using handgrips.

Ok, I realize that doesn't have much to do with the original issue of this thread -- letter reversals.  But I'm so very grateful to Goldenecho for mentioning such an easy-to-use resource. THANK YOU!

Edited by GailV
spelling
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On 2/18/2020 at 4:42 PM, GailV said:

Wow wow wow, I checked out PrintPath before I did my usual Tuesday afternoon session of helping a handful of kindergartners with various school work.  SO MANY COOL THINGS including the dino letters -- we used one of those today.  Plus a couple of the mazes.  And, yes, the BIG HIT of the afternoon: The hole punch activities.

Why did no one ever tell me the way to engage 5-6 year olds in any sort of learning was to hand them a simple printout and a hole punch? It was MAGIC. They adored finding beginning sounds, ending sounds, the letters of their names. They squeezed those hole punches so many times that I was reminded of weightlifters using handgrips.

Ok, I realize that doesn't have much to do with the original issue of this thread -- letter reversals.  But I'm so very grateful to Goldenecho for mentioning such an easy-to-use resource. THANK YOU!


This whole post makes me so happy!  Thank you so much for sharing how this helped you.  Really made my day to hear it.  

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On 2/17/2020 at 10:55 PM, goldenecho said:

I agree with others on All About Spelling...it's great for teaching specific rules.

As for the letter formations, I suggest some PrintPath (you can search for it on Teacher's pay teachers).   I used it to teach my son and it worked really well.   "Lowercase at Last" was what I used because he was pretty good with his upper case letters, but needed work with a lot of his lower-case ones when I pulled him out of school.

This one is pretty good for fixing letter formations too (it's meant to be done in 2nd grade to sort of address any problems that have arisen):  https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/2nd-Grade-Handwriting-Instruction-and-Handwriting-Practice-HWT-STYLE-FONT-3218336

They also have a dinosaur themed handwriting program now which looks like it teaches the same things as their other, but it uses dinosaurs, which might be motivating if you have a dino loving kid.

These are so great, thank you!!

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