My son who is in kindergarten writes certain letters and numbers backward a lot of the time. 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 "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 "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.