Monday, February 25, 2008

Bees and Dees

This is a reading post for those of you with emergent readers that mix up their 'b' and 'd' when reading or writing. One thing you should know is this: most kids do it. You or your child are not automatically labeled dyslexic just because you switch these around, even if you do it consistently. There are a couple of ways that I have used to help young children figure this one out:

1. "Check your bed" Look carefully at the word bed and notice the way the b and d look at each other. Sometimes I even write out the word bed on paper and draw a little stick person laying down with the head on the b. Did you know you can take your bed with you anywhere you go? See below, even Tasha can do it.
When you hold up your fists, thumbs extended you have the b and the d. As you say the word bed, you know the 'b' sound comes first, the 'd' sound comes at the end. From there you can match the sound to the letter and sound you need. *

2. "barbie doll" This one works for the girls. It's the same as checking your bed, just know that barbie comes first, and doll comes last. (this is for you, should you need it, Lizzie!) *

*It is helpful for both the "check your bed" and "barbie doll" helps to emphasis the sounds as you touch your child's hands. Say 'b' (while pulling on their left thumb)-'e'(real quiet)-'d' (while pulling on their right thumb. OR, say "barbie" while shaking the left thumb, and "doll" while shaking the right thumb. You may to do this several times in the beginning, or review when problems start to arise again.

3. "Straight lips?" Say the sound 'b'. When you say it your lips are together and form a straight line. (exaggerate this if you need to) Now, look at the letter b and notice that the first thing on the b is a straight line. (not so on the letter d, right?!) The trick to this one is when you see the straight line, start with your lips together. If you need to write 'b' sound, notice that your lips are together so you should start with a straight line.

Now for the funny thing that happened to me once, several years ago. I had several students that mixed up these two letters, ALL THE TIME. When I tutor I work across a table from my students, therefore everything I see is upside down and backwards. I'm pretty talented, huh? So you have 3 kids in a row that will say 'b' for 'd' and vice-versus, I have to reverse it in my head, then flip it back around for them to get it right. Occasionally I would get up and look at it right side up just to make sure I had it right. One night I got home and was talking to Bill and switched the sounds around when I SAID something to him. I wasn't reading anything, just talking. It was hilarious and Bill couldn't stop laughing. We can't remember the word but it was something like dab for bad or briddle for dribble, a real word none the less.

The bottom line is not to be too discouraged if you child does this. It COULD be a sign of something more, but often times it is just something that is learned over time.


JRV said...

thanks for the tip. Im definitely passing this on to Cailin.

btg said...

As I was reading this, I actually put my fists together, thumbs extended and said "Bill Durrenberger...It really works!"