Classroom Tip: Remediating Letter & Number Reversals
Studies have estimated that 10 to 30 percent of elementary school children struggle with handwriting. Researchers have also found that children who experience difficulty mastering this foundation skill may avoid writing, and their overall school achievement and self-esteem may suffer.
One of the most common handwriting struggles young children have is letter and number reversal. Reversals show that the child is having problems with left-to-right orientation, one of the main skills needed for natural, automatic writing.
If you have students who are struggling with reversals, follow these simple tricks to get them back on track.
- Work on one letter at a time. Master that formation before moving on.
- Teach letters in separate groupings; for example, lowercase “b” and “d” are easily reversed. That’s why we teach them in different letter groups:
Teach d with the Magic C letters: Begin with a c stroke, up high like a helicopter, up higher, back down, bump
Teach b with the Diver letters: Dive down, swim up and over, around, bump
- Use Wet-Dry-Try on the Slate for capital letters, or the Blackboard with Double Lines for lowercase letters. This multisensory activity appeals to different learning styles and offers the repetition needed to correct reversals, yet appeals to children’s different senses, which makes learning fun.
- Children use a sponge cube to trace over a letter you have written on the Slate or Blackboard.
- Next, they use a paper towel to dry the letter.
- Finally, they use a chalk bit to write the letter again.
- Play Mystery Letter Games using Gray Blocks or the Slate. This is a fun way to develop good writing habits and correct common letter reversals.
- Lead students in making the beginning stroke of a letter without saying the letter.
- Make sure students have completed this stroke correctly before moving on to the next letter.
- Continue step-by-step until the mystery letter is formed.
The frame of the Slate helps to prevent and eliminate reversals of capitals and numbers. Similarly, the placement of the lines on the Blackboard is appropriate for learning lowercase letter formation and placement in print or in cursive.