“I have a 3rd grader and she still reverses her b‘s and d‘s. My friend has a daughter in the 3rd grade who doesn’t do this and she told me that my child shouldn’t be doing this anymore either. Should I be concerned?” This was a question a mom recently asked me. And I thought it was a good one at that!
I probed further to find out that her child was reading and writing on a 1st grade level. Developmentally speaking, this student was a 1st grader, despite what “grade” she was actually in.
My response went something like this: “Your daughter is demonstrating the spelling behavior of a 1st grader because that’s the developmental stage she’s in. Students in this stage still do reverse their letters on occasion, so for her developmental stage, she is ‘normal’.” Does that mean the mom should not be concerned? No. But that’s a post for another day. Today, I just want to drive home the point that :
We need to remember to look at the whole child as we observe and assess. Instead of expecting literacy behaviors based solely off of a student’s grade level, we need to make sure we take into account what developmental stage she is in.
As for the b and d reversals, it can be a source of embarrassment for kids who are the older grades, yet in a different developmental stage. There are many tricks, but here’s an easy-peasy trick that can be done discretely:
With a pencil, lightly write a capital B at the top of your page. The lower case b will fit inside of it. When you’re done with your writing, erase your B and no one will ever know that you needed it.
And a big P.S.- Even if this mama’s 3rd grade girl was developmentally in the 3rd grade, ALL KIDS ARE DIFFERENT! We need to be careful that we avoid playing the comparison game with our kids. It can negatively affect how they see themselves as writers and readers!