11 Hints and Tips to Help Correct Letter Confusion (Letter Reversal)


Written by Holly (Teach Starter)

During my time teaching in the early years, it was not unusual to have a number of students who would reverse letters and numbers during reading and writing activities.

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Of course, because of the common link between letter and sound reversal and dyslexia, parents were often very concerned when they saw their children reversing their letters and numbers.

As educators, we know it is a common developmental hurdle to deal with in the classroom and with repetition and exposure, most children are able to settle their letter confusion.

Here are some great ideas and activities that you can do in your classroom to help those students.

Mouth Formation Trick

This is an easy yet worthwhile strategy suggested by Julie from the Make Take & Teach blog.

In this strategy, students are taught that when they make the /b/ sound, the crease between the upper and lower lip is straight, just like the line in the letter ‘b’. When making a /d/ sound, the tongue is curled just like the curl is first when writing the d.

You could also use this example for the letters m and w. When you make the /m/ sound your lips are closed just like the top of the letter m. When you make the /w/ sound, your mouth is open, just like the top of the letter w.

Use Visual Cues

B and D letter confusion hand trick

With the reversal of letters b and d being the most common, I love this little trick!

By putting both thumbs up and the rest of the fingers in a fist, it creates an instant visual cue to help students with which way the letter b and d go.

Another great visual is our B and D Letter Confusion Posters.

B and D Confusion Poster

In these posters you teach the b as a bat with a ball, first comes the bat, then comes the ball. This cues the students that the stick is formed first while writing the letter b.

The d is a drum and stick, first comes the drum, then comes the stick.

Hands-On Activities

After visual cues, repetition is the next big way to help students with their letter reversals.

We have a number of worksheets and activity ideas that you could use.

All the activities have come from our Letter Confusion Worksheets booklet.

Letter Confusion Sheets

In the above worksheet, students are asked to circle one of each of the letters.

Letters available – b and d, p and q, n and m, i and j, f and t.

Letter Confusion Game Idea

I love this idea!

Grab some sticky dots and choose the two letters you want your students to focus on. Stick 6 of the sticky dots on each face of a dice.

I have used the most common, b and d.

Letter Confusion Game

This is a great game played in pairs.

Each student has a different coloured pen.

They take turns to roll the dice and then colour the corresponding star that has the letter that matches the letter on the dice!

You can leave it at that, alternatively, you could say that to win they need to get three stars in a row!

Letter Confusion Worksheets

A fantastic way to reinforce some of the most common letters that get reversed or confused!

A simple colouring in sheet that students can do as an independent activity!

Multi-Sensory Materials

Using our Alphabet Playdough Mats to reinforce certain letters, is a fun hands-on activity that students in the early years will love!

Playdough MatsHave them create the letters they are getting confused with using playdough!

A great fine motor activity that will also have your students focusing on the differences between the two letters they may be getting confused with!

Letter confusion activity idea

I have used a different colour dot for the straight part of the letter b and d and another colour for the round part!

A fantastic visual for your students once they have filled in each of the letters with the sticky dots!


Create Your Own Handwriting Sheets

Handwriting Widget

Using our Handwriting widget, create a worksheet that focuses just on the letters your students may be struggling with!

Play Tic Tac Toe

A fun little game to finish off the list of ideas!

In pairs, children are given a particular letter, in this example, I have used b and d.

Played just the same as naughts and crosses but with two letters!

A fun little hands-on activity that can be played in the last five minutes of a lesson!

Do you have any hints and tips?

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