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Year 1 reversing letters and numbers

(18 Posts)
rebl Tue 27-Sep-11 17:14:15

My dd is 5 and in year 1. She's got excellent reading and comprehension skills and her sentence structure is also excellent. Whats not excellent is her handwriting. Every single letter than can be reversed is reverse. Every single number that can be reversed is reversed. All the letters are different sizes, all over the place, lying down, above the line, below the line, really a total mess.

Today I've got a note from the teacher saying that dd wouldn't pass her spellings until she writes the letters in the correct direction. Also dd says she was made to copy out all her maths and writing work yesterday until she got the letters and numbers in the right direction. She says she had to do it at least 70 times grin which I'm sure just means she had to do it more than once and not actually 70 times! We've also found at home certainly she's pressing so hard she's constantly snapping the pencil lead which just adds to the frustration.

We've got handwriting books etc and they seem to make no difference. The teacher has given us no guidance on how to help her, just told us to get her to stop doing it. We can't! If we could we would have done wouldn't we.

We're assuming we don't need to be worrying about it. Is that right? The only thing niggling at me is I'm dyslexic and what she's doing is similar to what I did. But my reading and comprehension skills weren't like hers are.

electra Tue 27-Sep-11 17:15:11

My dd did this at the same age and her teacher told me it was completely normal at 5.

SweetGrapes Tue 27-Sep-11 17:28:49

Ask the teacher how do go about it.

Also you could get a slate and chalk. We do this for dd - the wet-dry-try method from 'Handwriting without tears'.
You write it first, then she gets a tiny wet sponge snip and 'writes' over it with the sponge. Next she 'writes' over the wet mark with a dry tissue snip. And then she tries with chalk over the residual marks again.

GrimmaTheNome Tue 27-Sep-11 17:39:26

My DD did this - perhaps not quite as much as your DD but occasionally whole words in 'mirror writing'. I was a bit worried; then I discovered one of my old exercise books my mum had kept and found that I did it too. I'm not dyslexic, and neither is my DD - she grew out of it sometime during KS1.

TBH it doesn't sound unusual for a 5 year old, and I think the teacher is not dealing with it appropriately. I can't remember exactly what my DDs teachers did, I think they would have wanted some copying out correct way round, but would have marked spellings and sums as correct if the letters/numbers were right but inverted (though b/d could be ambiguous, not many others are)

rebl Tue 27-Sep-11 17:45:51

I will ask the teacher. I am a bit miffed that she's failing her spellings because of it because tbh its clear that she knows how to spell the words. She can spell much harder words, she just has bad handwritting and surely those are different skills.

livinonaprayer Tue 27-Sep-11 17:49:50

IMO opinion the teacher is being overly harsh here if that is what your dd is being asked to do. I cant see how that will help her, it is surely just going to make her resist writing.
At this age I think sometimes childrens brains go faster than their bodies and they can only focus on getting their thoughts down.
If it was my dc I would be going to talk to the teacher and try to work together on an alternative way of approaching this. The teachers current approach sounds very sad for your dd.

mrz Tue 27-Sep-11 18:11:02

If she is reversing letters and numbers it is quite likely she hasn't been taught to form them correctly in the first place.

Make sure she starts in the right place (usually at the top) and forms letters with the correct sequence of movements.
Curved letters c, a,d,g,o,q,s e are formed anti clockwise where curved numbers 2, 3, 8 are formed clockwise.
Once the correct formation is established she won't have to think about it.

I also teach my children letter formation jingles which they recite to ensure they form letters correctly in a smooth single motion

Curly caterpillar family
Anticlockwise movements
c round

o round, round and join

a round, up, down and flick

d round, up, up, down, down and flick

g round, up, down, down and round

q round, up, down, down and tick

s round and round the other way

f round, down, down and round – across

e across and round
one armed robot family
down, up and over movements

r down, up and over a bit

n down, up, over, down and flick

m down, up, over and down, up, over, down and flick

h down, down, up a bit, over, down and flick

b down, down, up a bit, over and round

p down, down, up, up, over and round

k down, down, up a bit, over, round, out and flick

long ladder family
mainly down and round movements

l down, down and flick

i down and flick – dot

t down and flick – across

j down, down and round – dot

u down, round, up, down and flick

y down, round, up, down, down and round

zig zag monster
diagonal movements

v down, up

w down, up, down, up

x down, stop – down, stop

z across, down, across

rebl Tue 27-Sep-11 19:13:47

Thats very helpful mrz. I know she hasn't been taught how to form letters properly. She naturally started trying to write more than her name just before starting in reception. I was keen to ensure that she did it right from the start so asked the teacher for some guidance at the 1st parent evening (last October). The teacher told us to not worry about it because its only reception and they do writing in yr1. Now we're a year on and suddenly its a problem which I'm sure we could have avoided. Her letter formation is appauling. I couldn't even begin to describe to you how she writes an "a" for instance, its plain weird.

Rosa Tue 27-Sep-11 19:24:26

mrz thst is so very helpful....Thanks

Bonsoir Tue 27-Sep-11 19:28:34

Surely the Year 1 teacher should be teaching your DD to write?

ASByatt Tue 27-Sep-11 19:33:25

I agree that the teacher is not handling this well!
Lots of pupils go through a stage of reversals etc, and it does not mean that they are dyslexic - it's developmentally normal up to the age of about 7.

In the absence of the school doing anything more proactive than just punishing your DD (hmm not impressed) then I agree that putting in some time at home with mrz's ideas, in a fun, postive manner, should be helpful.

redskyatnight Tue 27-Sep-11 19:33:26

mrz - are there similar rhymes for numbers? DD spent a lot of time in Reception on handwriting and letter formation so her letters are good - but her numbers are generally reversed. Also I've noticed she writes numbers "backwards" e.g. 71 for seventeen. Like OP, I'd assumed it was "normal" at this stage, now wondering whether I should do more.

mrz Tue 27-Sep-11 19:50:36

Karoleann Tue 27-Sep-11 21:32:35

Current thinking is that the visual cortex doesn't have complete lateral recognition til 6.5. Which is why a dyslexia assessment doesn't happen before 7.
DS1 is 5.3 and sometime his letters are reversed too as are many of his friends.
I recommend you mention the immature latteral reveral of the visual cortex to his teacher and see what her views are wink

IndigoBell Tue 27-Sep-11 22:19:56

The alphabet and numbers should also be displayed in a place where little rebl can see them easily so that she has a chance at getting them round the right way sad

write from the start is a nice handwriting program you could do with her every day at home if you wanted.

Anushka Tue 27-Sep-11 22:35:11

Bless her, surely she is showing all the skills teachers want to see in a child and the hardest to get them to understand (comprehension and sentence structure).
My dd2 has (in my opinion) quite poor handwritting but her teachers never seem to mind and told me it was normal. She reversed letters and numbers but has now improved and rarely does it(she's in yr 3).
I'd go and speak to the teacher (a bit of a strange comment to send a note home about so early in the year). I'm also alarmed that she's told you she's not going to pass her spellings - isn't she only 5!

sarahfreck Wed 28-Sep-11 09:20:56

I'd pick on a specific "letter formation family" eg c a o g d ( letters all start from the c shape) and practice all those letters until she gets the hang of them. Use a variety of sensory methods as well as just writing eg writing with finger in a thin layer of salt/dry rice on a tray.

If you have done loads of handwriting exercises and she is pressing hard and having difficulties with spacings/sizings too then you might benefit from the advice of a Paediatric Occupational Therapist. School can refer her for this (best because school are then more likely to take on board any advice given) but if they won't say they can't then you can ask your GP to refer her. There can be various physical weaknesses and instabilities with joints that can be improved with appropriate exercises that the OT can recommend as well as actual handwriting exercises.
Now is exactly the right time to address this before she has had years of bad habits to reverse. It is much harder to get it sorted by the time they are 9 or 10.

rebl Wed 28-Sep-11 10:00:49

I will try and speak to the teacher after school today but it might not be possible. We'll definatly try and work on the same letters in the same family at home. We've not been very organised like that up until now which I guess won't help her. So yesterday we did 'b' and 'g' which I can see now are formed differently. I've never thought of it like that.

She's quite reluctant to write as it is and I'm worried that too much pressure or negative feedback will put her off it totally so we do need to tackle this carefully both at home and at school. We've got a parents evening coming up soon I think so we'll definatly be able to speak to the teacher about it then.

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