My son is in first grade. When he writes, he writes letters backwards, like b, d, p, and q. When will he stop reversing letters?
Most young writers reverse letters or write letters backwards or upside down. So there’s nothing unusual about what’s happening with your child. In fact, writing letters backwards is part of how kids develop writing skills.
When you think about it, b, d, p, and q are all really the same letter. They’re just turned in different directions. So it’s not surprising that kids who are just learning to write would flip them around.
There are other small mistakes new writers often make. They often write words backwards, like gip instead of pig. And it’s common for them to mix up the number 2 and the letter s.
As kids write more, these mistakes usually go away. By the time they’re in third grade, most kids are writing letters correctly. But some may need extra practice and help.
Try to find time to practice with your child. Gently point out mistakes. And if your child’s confused about what direction a letter should face, show how to write it the right way. Or you can ask a friend or adult you trust to help with this.
If your child doesn’t shake the b/d reversal habit by third grade, it’s a good idea to find out why. Knowing what’s going on helps you find your child the right support.
Talk with or email your child’s teacher. Ask if the teacher has concerns about backwards letters and letter reversals, or about your child's reading and writing skills in general.
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About the author
About the author
Elizabeth Babbin, EdD is an instructional specialist at Lower Macungie Middle School in Macungie, Pennsylvania.