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When I was a K-4 teacher one of the most common questions I heard from parents concerned letter reversals. Are they normal? When should you worry that your child might possibly have a learning disability?
The answer I was trained to give was: “Don’t be concerned about letter reversals until winter of third grade.”
So, up until December of third grade, letter reversals are probably developmentally normal. After that, you should seek help. (More ideas one what to do if you suspect something is wrong with your child’s learning here.)
In the meantime, if your child is mixing up some of the most common letters: b, and d, here’s a quick tip.
Teach your child to spell “b –e –d” and make the thumbs up sign with both hands. That will show them which ways the b and d go.
This is a trick that kids (usually) love. I hope it works for you!
“Pizza wanted reward $100 and eat it”
Bruce has been at it again with his dinner hour protests! I was happy to see this sign however, because you will notice the Zs are going the right direction this time. (Last week’s example.)
Just in the past couple of weeks I have been having Bruce actively correct his number reverals, so I think he is becoming more aware of reversals in general. It’s really a judgement call about when to have a child start actively correcting letter reversals, which as I’ve posted before are completely normal until around Christmas of third grade. I’ve decided to have Bruce start correcting his numbers however, because he’s embarking on 3rd grade math content, and I don’t want his handwriting to confuse his computation.
Bruce has been apparently unhappy with my cooking lately. I came downstairs to find the following taped to the kitchen wall.
“Pizza Wanted. Award: Get to eat it and get $100” Notice the Zs are backwards, and the $ sign is still in the wrong place. For more information on letter reversals and what is considered normal, please see my previous post.
The companion poster, of course! I guess I should probably take a night off from cooking…
Here’s a letter Bruce worked on last night to deliver to one of the kids in his class tomorrow. It says: “Sorry Jordan for being mean. I won’t do that in the future. Next half of the note for the parents. I like the way you handled it. I am happy you didn’t tell Mr. Sacket. From Bruce.”
As you can see, there are a lot of things going on in this letter that pop out at you; letter reversals, phonetic spelling, and words that end mid letter on the right of the page, and then pick up again on the left. But since Bruce is still just five and a half, this is all completely normal and doesn’t worry me at all. I didn’t harp on anything, or make him change something, because I did not want to interfere with his creative flow. He spent a good twenty minutes on this and really worked hard.
One thing I will try to start having some mini-lessons on however, is this business of running out of space for a word on the right, and then finishing it off on the left. I really need to teach him about putting finger spaces between each word.