Teaching Tips, Multisensory Learning, Announcements

Moving Forward Not Backward with Reversals

Studies have estimated that 10 to 30 percent of elementary school children struggle with handwriting. Researchers have also found that children struggling to master this foundational skill may avoid writing, and their overall school achievement and self-esteem may suffer.


Reversals are one of the most common handwriting issues a child has when learning how to write. Early intervention with reversals ensures that letters are turned around, enabling students go on to become successful writers.


Letter and number reversals show that the child is having problems with left-to-right orientation, one of the main skills needed for natural, automatic writing. If you have students who are struggling with reversals, follow these simple tricks to get them back on track.


  • Work on one letter at a time. Master that formation before moving on.
  • Teach letters in separate groupings. For example, lowercase b and d are easily reversed. That’s why we teach them in different letter groups. 


Teach d with the Magic C Letters: Begin with a c stroke, up high like a helicopter, up higher, back down, bump.

Teach b with the Diver Letters: Dive down, swim up and over, around, bump.


  • Use Wet-Dry-Try on the Slate Chalkboard or the Blackboard with Double Lines for lowercase letters. This multisensory activity appeals to different learning styles and offers the repetition needed to correct reversals.


  1. Children use a sponge cube to trace over a letter you have written on the Slate or Blackboard.
  2. Next, they use a paper towel to dry the letter.
  3. Finally, they use a chalk bit to write the letter again. 


  • Play Mystery Letter Games using Gray Block Paper or the Slate. This is a fun way to develop good writing habits and correct common letter reversals.


  1. Lead students in making the beginning stroke of a letter without saying the letter.
  2. Make sure students have completed this stroke correctly before moving on to the next letter.
  3. Continue step-by-step until the mystery letter is formed. 


The frame of the Slate helps to prevent and eliminate reversals of capitals and numbers. Similarly, the placement of the lines on the Blackboard with Double Lines is appropriate for learning lowercase letter formation and placement in print or in cursive.


Are your students struggling with reversals? Help them turn their letters and numbers around line by line and curve by curve! Watch our Moving Forward Not Backward with Reversals webinar to get up-to-date tips and strategies for remediating reversals.

By Megan Parker Megan Parker received her Bachelor of Science degree in English from Towson University. She has a background in writing for children that includes working in the editorial department at Girls’ Life magazine, where she wrote for the print magazine and website. She has versatile experience as a writer, editor, and copywriter, and her writing has been published in magazines and newspapers. When she’s not having fun creating imaginative content at Learning Without Tears, she loves to travel the world.