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Has anyone ever heard of having the students with reversals write the letter or number, such as b, over and over again 100 times as a strategy to correct reversals? In a recent meeting, our OT and Speech teachers told the parent to have their child do this. Do you know if it really is effective and where the research comes from?

Thing 1

Senior Member

I have never heard of that strategy before. Sounds punitive to me and it must of really made the student feel awful. I'm a SPED teacher and I would never have my students do something like that. When my kiddos reverse their letters (depending on the student's age and/or their certification), I may ignore it, or tell them "oops, that letter is going the wrong way" but I don't make a big deal out of it.


Senior Member
No way!

If a child is reversing the b and d, beyond a typical age of development, the problem is phonological, not visual, so having the child write it over and over will not help, and there is no research to support doing so.


Senior Member

I would think doing all that writing would make a student who already has difficulty with school, just enforce that thought. I teach reading and English in a junior high. One of our 7th graders last year still had a problem with reversals. You could make him aware of it all day, but it would still happen. We did two things to help him. I showed him that when he wrote that if a word had a B in it and he knew it had a B to think, "Bat before ball" when writing it. That took care of some of the problem. The other was to get him a word prediction laptop and that helped out too. He still did reversals, but they lessened as he went along in the year.


New Member
I would ask the OT and speech person why they recommend the student do it? They may have a really good reason that has worked in the past. Don't be too quick to judge because different people do different things.


Senior Member
I've heard of overlearning, but in my opinion 100 times in one sitting is excessive. The practice needs to be distributed over a period of time so that it is encoded into memory, and done in a variety of contexts that it is generalized. Most good multisensory reading programs incorporate handwriting practice. There is also Handwriting Without Tears, which we use at our school as well.



Maybe you misuderstood? I would think that it would probably take far more than 100 repetitions, but not all at one time! I frequently reccommended repeated writing with tactile input while articulating the letter sound. For example: After dinner smear a little extra ketchup on the plate and let Johnny write the letter while saying the sound. Make a game of it -- write it big, write it little, say it loudly, say it softly, say it in a monster voice, etc. (Frequent finger licking is encouraged!) Do five or six repetitions -- depending on how much fun you're having. You can also use chocolate syrup, mashed potatoes, shaving cream in the bathtub (depending on the age of the child), sidewalk chalk outside, etc.

Eventually, you get enough practice to learn it, but not 100 times at once and not with pencil and paper. Also, saying the sound and/or letter name is important for associating the sound and symbol.


New Member
oh no,

That sounds like they are trying to teach the student to hate writing.
With my students I have them use teh word bed. Put you fists together. As long as the students know the beginning and ending letters of bed. They can look at thier fists to see which way let letters point. For some of my students I use a visual picture of a bed taped to their desks, for others the use of thier fist is effective. AND this can easily be transferred to the gen. ed. classroom.