During our initial telephone meetings with parents, we are often told that a child is experiencing a lot of confusion with the letters b and d when reading. And when you take a look at these two letters typed up, you can see why a child may get into a bit of a muddle with the similar shape of these letters, particularly if they are highly visual learners. A b and d confusion often goes hand in hand with a p and q jumble.
The root of this is that the children are sight reading whole words as images, which means the direction of the text is much less important. You will find the children will often switch on/no and saw/was as well. Many can read words back to front (as if in the mirror) and even upside down too!
If you think that they are reading the word ‘cow’ like they see a picture of a cow, then it makes sense that it doesn’t make any difference which way around the word is.
The first key to changing this is to work on decoding words instead of recognising them. Usually, the flipping then goes away. Occasionally, the switching of b and d remains in which case we have a simple process for eliminating it:
The routine we recommend to clearly distinguish between the two letters and their sounds is to get four cards with the B, D, Bear and Duck on them and just cycle through them slowly, with the child concentrating on the correct *sound* for each of the four:
We also get the child thinking of the bear bumping into the flat side of the big “b”.
If you do that for 3-4 days, you will find it clearing up.
If you haven’t already met the bear, duck, pig and queen and all the rest of our Easyread characters, then sign up for our 10 day free trial today to help your struggling reader get their head around the confusing letters and sounds of the English alphabet.