Letter reversals are common among young learners. Use these strategies to help your students stop confusing b, d, p and q. Here are some engaging activities and a free printable for mastering these tricky letters when reading and writing!
Teach Letter Reversals
Letter reversals are really common and can be super tricky for students. Let’s be honest: b, d, p and q are basically all the same shape, just turned and flipped! This makes it especially challenging for children with dyslexia and struggling readers. This letter confusion can cause frustration for them in their reading and writing.
When I administered reading tests to all of my struggling readers who were reading below grade level in first, second and third grade, I learned SO much about my students. (They were long days, but worth it!) These tests helped me pinpoint exactly what they were struggling with.
One of the errors I saw nearly every hour was due to reversals of the letters b and d or p and q. It is not just children with dyslexia that confuse these letters. Many young students do! For that reason, I created some letter reversal worksheets, games, and activities for mastering these tricky letters so that it no longer causes reading errors! Another great way to work on these common letter reversal errors is by using play dough. Students can practice forming each letter with play dough, helping them understand the shape and direction of each letter.
Letter Reversal Worksheets
It’s not hard to see why students who are just learning to write and read these letters may get confused. These letter reversal worksheets are fun for students and provide lots of practice with the most common letter reversals. These activities allow both individual and group practice, giving students many opportunities to work on these confusing letters.
These letter reversal activities can all be found in my Letter Reversals pack on Teachers Pay Teachers. Read on to see exactly how I use these activities to help my students and struggling readers.
This spin and graph activity gives students the chance to differentiate between the letters side by side. I included clip art with beginning sounds so they could attach meaning to the shapes of the letters. They are practicing both letter recognition and sounds with this activity! (It also incorporates math. #sneaky)
Sometimes q is written without the tail and then it looks like p. With this letter reversal spin and graph worksheet, students have to differentiate between p, q, b and d.
BONUS: Having students manipulate the spinner is a great fine motor activity as well. Right-handed students gain strength and coordination with their left hand and vice versa.
These cut and paste letter sorts include letters in ten different fonts. I always talk to my students about how sometimes we will see letters written in different ways. We call these “funky” or “fancy” letters. It really is important for them to learn to recognize letters in different fonts, especially the common letter reversal letters such as b, d, p, and q. These cut and paste sorts make great “take home” activities!
This look, listen find beginning sounds game can be played with or without the teacher. Students choose a card. (All the cards have pictures that start with b, d, p, or q.) Then the students point to and paperclip or clothespin the letter that correlates with the beginning sound. Again, letter recognition, letter sounds, and fine motor skills are all incorporated.
With this roll and find letter reversal worksheet, students roll and then color, highlight, or daub (dot paint) a picture that starts with the same sound.
Finally, we practice writing the letters with this fun spin and write activity. This adds an engaging feature to make letter reversal practice feel like a game! This activity is very helpful for students when learning to write these letters.
Teaching B vs D
No letter reversal lessons would be complete without the b-e-d trick! Hold both hands in front of you. Touch your pointer fingers and thumbs together. Then say the word “bed.” Your hands will create the frame of a bed, while your fingers create letters that show the proper directions of b and d.
This is a trick your students can use anywhere, anytime! To remind them of this visual, I printed the large b-e-d poster for my focus wall and the small posters for student folders, binders, and backpacks.
You can click to download the free letter reversal posters.
Do you have tips for correcting letter reversals?