Telling lower case b and d apart - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 23 Old 11-08-2008, 02:03 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Can you homeschool mamas give suggestions for how to tell lowercase b and d apart? My pre-K child is reading well with simple words but is getting confused between these two letters and is frustrated. Thanks!

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#2 of 23 Old 11-08-2008, 02:22 PM
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Yes! Hold up both hands and make a circle with the index finger and thumb of each, holding the other fingers up as straight as you can. Your left hend will make a "b" and your right will make a "d", as viewed by the person holding up her hands.

Now put your hands together so the tips of the index fingers and thumbs just touch - you've made a bed with your fingers! The first letter in the word "bed" is "b", and going from left to right, the first letter your hands are making is "b". The last letter is "d", just like your right hand is making.

I swear this is much easier than it sounds! it's one of those little tricks that's hard to describe but much easier if you can see it....

Dar

 
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#3 of 23 Old 11-08-2008, 02:43 PM
 
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This is the little rule I use. When you teach it to them stress the b, d and p sounds.


with a b the back comes before the donut.

with a d the donut comes before the back.

with a p the pack rideson the back.

HTH, Terri
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#4 of 23 Old 11-08-2008, 03:33 PM
 
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b has a belly.
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#5 of 23 Old 11-08-2008, 05:38 PM
 
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I have questions about this too. My 5.5 year old mixes up a lot of letters (b & d, M & W, j & r). She's a beginning reader, so she's starting to figure things out by context (i.e "must be 'I like MILK! Not WILK!" she'll say).

How normal is this? I haven't worried (or corrected her much) to this point, but because it's not getting much better I'm starting to feel some worry creep in, like maybe I should be correcting her more. She also writes almost all of her numbers backwards as well, and has started writing her letters in all capitals because it's easier to tell them apart that way. She also has an eye muscle problem that is intermittant, so I'm wondering if that could affect it.

Any ideas?
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#6 of 23 Old 11-08-2008, 11:43 PM
 
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I was just going to write this same post! My DD has a lot of trouble with b and d. Thanks for all the suggestions! I think the hand trick or the b has a belly will work for her! Yeah!

Homeschooling Momma to DD 8 years old, DS 7 years old, DS born 03/11 by adoptionheart-1.gif , waiting for DD born 07/10 and two furry labs. Wife to my wonderful husband of 12 years.
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#7 of 23 Old 11-08-2008, 11:59 PM
 
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b has a belly
d has a butt

My ds is 8 and still mixes them up though
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#8 of 23 Old 11-09-2008, 12:58 AM
 
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I recently subbed as classroom assistant in 1st grade at a waldorf school and we learned b & d while I was there.
The teacher tells a story that uses the letter a lot and then the children say a verse from the story, usually the main point and nearly every word in the verse will start w/the letter ie. "the big brown bear bothered the baby bluebirds who became boisterous and bossy" and then they all say the sound the letter makes 3 times buh, buh, buh and then they draw a picture from the story and then they practice writing the letter on paper and in the air and then they copy a word or two that start w/the letter and sometimes they even act the story out. So they get a whole body learning for each letter. And they revisit each new letter they've learned everyday. One special thing the teachr did w/b and d was tell the kids, the baby bear b likes back hugs from it's mama so she'd call a child up and have them stand in front of her facing the same direction and put her hands on their shoulders. With D she told a story about a dragon so the little dragon looks to it's mama to learn how to blow fire. and she'd have the kids, when they'd come up to the front, stick out their watermelon bellies for even more exaggerated learning on which direction each letter faces.
Hope that gives you some creative ideas on how to help your munchkins learn in a fun way even if you only take one or two of those things. And don't worry if they don't get it right away. They aren't likely to be 15 and still getting their letters mixed up

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#9 of 23 Old 11-09-2008, 01:42 AM
 
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This suggestion is from a book called "a pocket full of acorns"

b your mouth makes a straight line so you know that the line goes first

d your mouth makes a circle so you know that the circle goes first.
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#10 of 23 Old 11-09-2008, 02:25 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dar View Post
Yes! Hold up both hands and make a circle with the index finger and thumb of each, holding the other fingers up as straight as you can. Your left hend will make a "b" and your right will make a "d", as viewed by the person holding up her hands.

Now put your hands together so the tips of the index fingers and thumbs just touch - you've made a bed with your fingers! The first letter in the word "bed" is "b", and going from left to right, the first letter your hands are making is "b". The last letter is "d", just like your right hand is making.

I swear this is much easier than it sounds! it's one of those little tricks that's hard to describe but much easier if you can see it....

Dar
We do the same thing, except we make fists and put our thumbs up straight.

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#11 of 23 Old 11-09-2008, 02:42 AM
 
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I keep the word bed written in a picture of a bed hanging on the wall so that they can always check it when they want to know how to write b or d.

(long side view- can you picture that- the bedposts on the ends of the word?)

When she's reading and doesn't know which one to say, I ask her which word makes sense. Then, she usually looks over at the bed picture to confirm her guess.
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#12 of 23 Old 11-09-2008, 01:34 PM
 
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So glad I found this thread! I've been wondering how to appoach it with dd, since she gets the two mixed up, and there have been great responses.
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#13 of 23 Old 11-09-2008, 04:42 PM
 
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The issue with this confusion (which is, BTW, totally and perfectly normal), is that children have to learn that directionality MATTERS.

You see, everything else that they represent on paper -- it doesn't matter which way it faces. Draw a dog facing left, and a dog facing right -- they're both still dogs.

So it doesn't make sense to a young child that the same symbol facing different directions means two completely different things. As to which is which, that's completely arbitrary -- so even once they do understand that there IS a difference, then there's the task of recognizing which one is which.

Also, we take for granted our "left to right" society. We read from left to right, and studies show that we kind of think that way too. When looking around, we assume that "left" is "first" and "right" is "after". In some societies, of course, it's the other way around. I've often wondered what difference it makes to the brain to develop in a right-to-left writing society, I'd love to get inside someone's head and see if the world "looks" different!

Anyway, young children don't have that permanence of left-to-right yet. After all, their brains need to be 'moldable' to adapt to whatever writing system they're born into... even an up-to-down one.

So mnemonics like "b has a belly and d has a butt", as cute as they are... will only work IF the child already understands that LEFT COMES FIRST... in other words, it's assuming that both letters are "facing" to the RIGHT. But as I said at the beginning, the problem is that the child sees the two letters as the same symbol, facing different directions. You could easily see d as a belly and b as a butt if they're just facing the other way...

One of the reasons I like the d'nealian font for learning letters is that the very method of writing b's and d's is completely different. There's more of a physical difference between them. I think it helps kids to grasp the idea of the difference between them. Of course they still need to learn to recognize b's and d's in other fonts as well, but I think it helps a lot.

Other than that, though, it's just a matter of time. My DS is 10 and still sometimes gets them backwards. Understanding the physiological reasons behind the difficulty helps though... so you don't get frustrated when a 'trick' doesn't help because you realize the 'trick' only makes sense if you've already solved the problem.

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#14 of 23 Old 11-09-2008, 10:59 PM
 
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We do the B D / Bed with the fingers thing. My son will just stop and check one finger or the other now if he isn't sure while reading or doing his ETC. I also made illustrations of the letters for him using images from Google Image Search of a drum & drumstick for d, bat & ball for b. He really likes having those to glance at too.
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#15 of 23 Old 11-09-2008, 11:23 PM
 
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#16 of 23 Old 11-10-2008, 02:59 PM
 
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My DD (5.5) is able to read and write upper case letters but also has trouble at times with b and d. I told her that the lower case b is like an upper case B without the top loop. (Hope that makes sense). Now she will write an upper case B and just erase the top loop if she gets confused.
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#17 of 23 Old 11-16-2008, 05:05 AM
 
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Quote:
So mnemonics like "b has a belly and d has a butt", as cute as they are... will only work IF the child already understands that LEFT COMES FIRST... in other words, it's assuming that both letters are "facing" to the RIGHT. But as I said at the beginning, the problem is that the child sees the two letters as the same symbol, facing different directions. You could easily see d as a belly and b as a butt if they're just facing the other way...
Interesting that you wrote this. When I read the "b has a belly thing", I though -so does d...how does that help?

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#18 of 23 Old 11-17-2008, 12:00 AM
 
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I actually remember being in 1st grade and having trouble remembering the difference between b and d. My teacher told me that the word "bed" actually makes a little bed shape (when written lowercase) and I already knew that the letters "b" "e" and "d" spelled bed, so if I just wrote it out, it was clear which was which.

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#19 of 23 Old 11-17-2008, 09:15 AM
 
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GREAT IDEAS! ...as we still have this issue once in a while...

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#20 of 23 Old 11-17-2008, 01:57 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LookMommy! View Post
b has a belly.
so d = derrière


My dh learned it as make a fist with both hands, and then stick up the thumbs. the b is the left hand the d is the right hand, b comes before d.

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#21 of 23 Old 11-17-2008, 06:47 PM
 
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[QUOTE=lisarussell;12571498]I keep the word bed written in a picture of a bed hanging on the wall so that they can always check it when they want to know how to write b or d./QUOTE]

I use the word "bed" as a mnemonic for b and d, too.
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#22 of 23 Old 11-18-2008, 12:27 PM
 
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We did the bed thing too with dd, but the teacher across the street told me she tells her class to put a lid on it. If you put a lid at the top of a small b, it looks like a big B, if you do it to a small d, it looks silly!

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#23 of 23 Old 11-18-2008, 03:11 PM
 
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FWIW, I did... nothing. It's age-appropriate to mix those up - for reading and writing, and for lower-case p and q, too. I think she will outgrow it no matter what you do, so I don't see the point of stressing over it. (For myself and my kid - of course your deal may be different.)

It mildly bugged my son, so if he asked I would tell him, and then as he got better at reading he would just figure it out for himself by context. I'd say, "Would it make more sense for that to be a b or a d in that word?" and then you could see the lightbulb go on and I wouldn't hear from him again until the next hard word.
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