Many teachers and parents express concerns about students making reversals, especially regarding letters b, d, p, q. Is this normal? According to normal development, it is very common for children learning to write, even up to age 7. Some researchers say this is because young minds are still developing. Others say it’s simply because they aren’t attentive to what they are writing or haven’t learned directionality. Here are some tips to try to stop the reversals using multi-sensory instruction:
- Use a green crayon, screen, and house paper to practice letter formation. There should be plenty of practice with these letters.
- Use an app such as Writing Wizard to help students with reversals.
- Practice writing these letters in the sand, fingerpaint, or another medium.
- Have students “Make Your Bed, Pretty Quickly” by giving a thumbs up, putting knuckles together and seeing your hands in the shape of a b and a d. Then flip them upside down to see the p and q.
- Place a lowercase b inside the Capital B to see that it fits inside the B. The lowercase d does not.
- Have posters b – baseball/bat and d – drum/drumstick available in the room for students to check their work.
- Teach cursive handwriting. Students rarely have reversals when writing in cursive.
If reversals don’t begin to disappear with intervention, there may be a need to do some additional testing.