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My Child Reverses Letters and Numbers
My kindergartener often writes certain letters and numbers backwards. He especially confuses the letters “b” and “d.” He also will write the numbers 2 and 5 backward. How can we help him write these letters and numbers correctly? – Confused
Relax. It is generally considered normal for children under the age of 7 to reverse the letters “b” and “d,” along with some numbers. Time and instruction usually stop these reversals. If not, there is the possibility of the existence of more serious problems.
You can accelerate the correct writing of letters and numbers in several ways. One way is to over teach a letter or number that is frequently reversed before going on to another letter or number.
You can start by making a huge “b” with masking tape on the floor. Your son should walk along the letter while saying its name. The next step can be his tracing the letter on a piece of paper with a finger then a pencil while saying it. Then the child can copy the letter while saying how it is formed. Each step should be repeated many times over several days.
The confusion between the letters “b” and “d” can be improved by having your son put his fists together and sticking up his thumbs to show how the letters face. Or you can have him stretch out both hands and use his thumbs to form “L’s.” Then the backs of his wrists or palms can be labeled appropriately with these letters for additional help to be used when he is writing.
Can Shyness be Overcome?
My daughter is in middle school and is beginning to hate going to class. While she is an academic superstar, her shyness is stopping her from feeling comfortable with her peers. She doesn’t like answering her teacher’s questions or participating in class discussions. She also is reluctant to talk to more than a couple of students in her classes. What can be done to help her overcome her shyness?
Most people have some degree of shyness. According to Philip Zimbardo, professor emeritus of psychology at Stanford University, shyness is a mental attitude that predisposes people to be extremely concerned about the social evaluation of them by others. It involves keeping a very low profile by holding back from initiating actions that might call attention to oneself.
We recommend that you read Philip Zimbardo’s book, The Shy Child: Overcoming and Preventing Shyness From Infancy to Adulthood. It has some of the best suggestions we have seen for helping parents combat shyness in their children. These include:
- Do not label your child as shy. Avoid saying: “Don’t be shy.”
- Encourage conversation at home
- Seek cooperation from teachers in reducing shyness in the classroom
- Teach your child how to compliment teachers and peers
- Teach and display listening skills
- Compliment the shy child and other family members whenever possible
- Find a younger playmate for your child to help the child practice social skills and be more assertive
Frequently, academically gifted children like your daughter struggle with shyness, often because they perceive themselves as being different from their peers. Help your child discover and develop her talents. Consider enrolling her in a gifted summer program or a camp where she might learn new physical skills that might contribute to building self-confidence.
Send questions/comments to firstname.lastname@example.org or go to dearteacher.com.