Does your child confuse their b’s and d’s? Letter reversals, such as b and d are really common in young learners because both letters have lines that go down and a circle at the end of the line. Figuring out the direction of the circle is the tricky part. On today’s post I am going to share with you my b/d letter reversal trick that works every time!

My b/d Reversal Trick

First, I place the Letter Cards –  a, b, c, d, e in a row in front of my student. This is really important, because my student needs a visual memory.  

Then, I have my student make a fist with both hands, thumbs pointing in the air, fingers facing each other. You can see how the shape of your hands creates a b and a d.  

Next, my student will say a, b, c, d, e out loud while placing the b fist on the letter b and then the d fist on the letter d

This takes a lot of practice. I recommend practicing this over and over again. Eventually my student remembers that the left hand is the b and the right hand is the d.

Want to see this Letter Reversals Trick in action? Watch this video:


 Prevent Letter Reversals Before they Begin

Work on One Letter at a Time

I never teach the letters b and d at the same time or close together, this will just confuse my student. 

Using the PRIDE Reading Program, I teach the letter b first to my student and I do not teach the letter d for a really long time. I overteach the letter b. This gives my student a lot of time to practice the formation of the letter b correctly and store it in long term memory before introducing a new visual discrimination.  

Use Multisensory Tools

When teaching the formation of the b and d, I use a lot of different multisensory tools and materials. This really helps my students feel, touch, hear, and say the letters so that they can make a visual memory of the formation of these letters. 

Using different tracing and tactile materials really helps the correct letter formation “stick” before the letter reversal can even begin. For example, my students will trace the letter b in sand or skywrite it while saying the sound out loud. To learn more about skywriting, you can read my previous post:

How I use Sky Writing with my Students

If you want some ideas for making your own tracing and tactile materials including Letter Cards, read my previous posts:

DIY Tactile Tools for the Orton-Gillingham Lesson

DIY Tactile Letter Cards for the Orton-Gillingham Lesson

I Have a Resource for You!

Thank you for reading my post today! You might also enjoy reading my previous posts:

How to Teach Spelling Words

How to Teach Letters and Sounds Correctly

My Favorite Sight Word Activities

Please don’t leave without checking out the PRIDE Reading Program. The PRIDE Reading Program is an Orton-Gillingham curriculum that is used by teachers, tutors, and homeschooling parents worldwide with great success.

The PRIDE Reading Program

Do you have a helpful strategy for handling b/d letter reversals?  Please share in the comments below, I would love to hear from you!

Karina Richland, M.A., is the author of the PRIDE Reading Program, a multisensory Orton-Gillingham reading, writing and comprehension curriculum that is available worldwide for parents, tutors, teachers and homeschoolers of struggling readers. Karina has an extensive background in working with students of all ages and various learning modalities. She has spent many years researching learning differences and differentiated teaching practices. You can reach her by email at info@pridereadingprogram.com or visit the website at www.pridereadingprogram.com