Friday 2 March 2012

Mixing up 'b' and 'd'

Both Garden Girl and Garden Boy sometimes mix up 'b' and 'd', which I have been told, is a common problem. For Garden Boy, it is a mix up he occassionally makes and usually he will ask, 'Is that a 'b' or a 'd'? He recognises it is something he sometimes gets wrong and he knows to think about it. He often gets it right without asking and so, for the moment I am leaving him to sort it out himself. If he is lucky, the more he reads, the more he will recognise the difference and it won't become a problem.

For Garden Girl it was a bigger problem. She was always unsure and she began to get frustrated. Her reading enjoyment was being threatened, so I used this trick to help her.

I wrote down the word 'bed' and sounded it out to her. I told her that, when the word 'bed' is written down, it is the bed my stick man likes to sleep on. He likes to sleep on the bed with his head on the curve of the 'b', the first letter, which makes his pillow. I drew a stick man on the word 'bed' to show her.

I then showed her what would happen to my stick man if his bed was written the wrong way around by writing 'deb' and drawing a squashed man inside. I explained that the straight lines of the 'b' and 'd' should make the headboard and foot of the bed.

Whenever Garden Girl came to a 'b' or a 'd' and got it wrong, or if she asked which letter it was, I told her to remember the stick man's bed. To start with, she needed me to draw it for her, but after a while she was able to visualise the word in her head and she started to sound out the word 'bed' to herself whenever she came across a 'b' and a 'd'. She was obviously seeing the stick man, in her mind, lying on the word and from this, she was able to work out if it was a 'b' or 'd' by deciding if the letter looked like the first letter or the last letter of 'bed'.

As time went on Garden Girl started to recognize the correct letter without needing to use this trick, but I will still, occassionally, hear her muttering the word 'bed' to herself when she is trying to work out a word. It has really helped her and it put an immediate stop to her frustration because she had a way to work it out for herself, rather than always needing to be told.

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