Grade School

B & D Trick

Many children reverse their b’s and d’s. Pediatricians will tell parents that the reversal is developmentally appropriate and can continue as late as seven or eight years old. For many, the situation reverses itself from practice. However, there are students, who shy away from reading aloud because they are worried about looking “dumb” in front of peers, and there are also dyslexic students, who truly will struggle with the reversals throughout their lives.

Alix Greenblat, an educational therapist, taught me one of the greatest tricks. She showed me how to put my four knuckles from each hand together with my thumbs sticking up toward the ceiling or the sky. The hands form the shape of a bed. Children know that bed begins with a “b” and ends with a “d.” Therefore, they can refer to their hands to figure out that b has the stem on the left and that “d” has the stem on the right. Many of my students use this trick under their desk or table, which reduces embarrassment and allows them to feel more comfortable reading. I have included a sketch designed by Farah Griffin to illustrate this trick. Thank you, Farah; your picture really made this tip come to life!