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Letter and Number Reversals

When a child starts to write, it is very common to see letter and number reversals, especially the letters b and d. How many times have you seen this happen? However, it does not mean your child has dyslexia if this occurs.

Reversals are the norm up to approximately 7-8 years of age. Sometimes a child may write some letters/numbers backwards but it again is typical in the development of handwriting skills.

Letter and number reversals refer to many things related to reversing letters in reading and writing:

  • Writing a letter backwards, replacing a letter with another (b and d, or p and q).
  • Writing the letter upside down, flipped (u and n).
  • Reading the letter backwards (b and d)
  • Transposing/switching the order of letters when writing.
  • Reversing/writing numbers backwards.
Letter and number reversals

Here are some of the most common reversals:

  • b and d
  • w and m
  • n and u
  • s and z
  • 2 and 5
  • s and 5
  • 3 and E

When writing letters, don’t forget that each one has a particular starting point. Children who are still developing handwriting skills are trying to establish the motor planning for the direction of letters/numbers and if they get it wrong or even guess, this can result in them being written backwards. It is vitally important to get the starting points correct. By using multi-sensory techniques to practice writing, this can help.

So, why not choose a multi-sensory activity to work on letter and number recognition. Remember to also use visual and verbal cues (auditory cues). Try:

  • Rice
  • Sand
  • Tin foil
  • Flour
  • Draw a letter/number on your child’s back
  • Write in the air
  • Play dough
  • Shaving cream
  • Hair gel
  • Glitter glue

Have fun!

Check out our information on prewriting skills

Here are some more ideas to help this area

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