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Mixing up Letters and How to Help

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Screenshot 2024 02 01 at 4.01.54 PM

Let’s start at the root of the problem. Why do kids mix up letters? As a vitally part of human survival, we have developed the ability to interpret shapes regardless of the direction those shapes are facing. This allowed us to recognize dangerous animals regardless of our positioning to them. Though this vital skill helps keep us alive, it can also get in the way. 

The letters of our alphabet were not designed with this in mind. Children are used to recognizing shapes from multiple angles at a young age, even before they can name those shapes. So when those children start to decode the written language for the first time, this sudden shift from any perspective to a specific perspective can be confusing. 

One of the best ways to help is by gently reminding your child when they make a mistake. When teaching letter sounds, it can be beneficial to use uppercase letters. Since the capital letters have distinct shapes your child should be able to identify the letter and its sounds easily. However, we can’t avoid lowercase letters forever. The good news is, there are many strategies available. Let’s look at some ways to assist with confusing the letters ‘b’ and ‘d’. Here are some strategies listed below:

  • Making the shape of a bed with the word ‘bed’
  • Teaching that b has a ‘belly’ and d has a ‘diaper’
  • Placing posters of the letters near objects that begin with that letter (bed, door, etc.)
  • Showing children that lowercase ‘b’ ‘fits inside’ uppercase ‘B’
  • Demonstrating that when writing ‘d’ we start with a ‘c’

In short, mixing up letters is very common, and most of the time is no cause for concern. Regardless of which letters get confused, you can rest assured knowing there are plenty of helpful tips out there for both you and your child.

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Annalyse Tanzos

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