Helping Students Conquer Letter Reversals: b and d


Reversing letters is very common for young students.  Typically, this is something that will be sorted out and mastered by first or second grade.  However, there are some students that have a more difficult sorting out these letters and continue to have letter reversals into and beyond second grade.  So, what can you do as a teacher or parent?

1.  Explicit Instruction

If your student is having trouble with reversals, the first thing that you can do to help that child is to make sure that you tell them that they are reversing letters.  Point out which letters they are having difficulty with so that they are fully aware of what you are going to be working on and why it is important.  Let them know that this is common, but it needs to get corrected before it becomes more of a habit.

2.  Choose a Strategy for your Students

I personally like the strategy of “Put your B’s and D’s to BED”.  This strategy can be used at any time because students always have their hands with them.  They make the “OK” sign with both hands and stretch out the word “bed” as they look at their hands.  I have created some anchor charts that help reinforce how to keep the b’s and d’s straight.  You can hang these in the classroom for easy reference or use the desk tag.  You can find all of these activities HERE.

3.  Kinesthetic Movement

Getting students up and moving when learning is always a bonus!  This helps their brains remember concepts they may not otherwise master so quickly.  Doing simple whole arm movements making the letters and saying the letter name and sound out loud can help some students to better master these tricky letters!

4.  Specific Lessons Focusing on Reversals

Now that your student knows that they need to be conscious of these letters, giving them specific lessons on how to correct these reversals is necessary!  I have made several resources to help students sort these out.

Games:  b and d match game and b and d board game

These games are a big hit with my students!  The first one can be played like memory.  Students match a “b” picture with the letter “b” and a “d” picture with the letter “d”.

This game is a board game.  Students choose a card and move that amount of spaces.  If the picture matches the letter they land on they keep the card, if not, the card goes into the discard pile.  The player with the most cards, in the end, is the winner. 

The object of this game is to get 5 in a row!  Students draw either a “b” or a “d” and place a “marker” on the board.  The person to get 5 in a row first- wins!


These “b” and “d” mazes are a fun way for students to notice which letter is which!


There are some basic worksheets for some extra practice!

Color by Code

Students can identify and distinguish between the b and d using these color by code worksheets!

If you are interested in checking out these activities, you can check them out HERE!


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