This is a fun way to practice the correct letter formation and the letter sounds at the same time.
Letter reversals can be a huge problem, and sometimes the letter b comes out looking like the number 6. Some students start both by drawing a straight down and then they can not remember which way the b or d should turn.
So we use the h b h b practice. I tell them the letter h and b are almost the same, the only difference is the letter b is closed at the bottom. So, make the tall letter h then close the bottom. Now it is the letter b. Be sure to make the letter sounds when you write. “h, b, h, b.” This is very important to make the letter sounds. Be careful not to use the letter name too much. Referring to the letter by its sound can help to avoid letter name interference. Letter name interference is very common with w, y, and u.
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This is also a great time to remind them that the letter h is a tall letter, and the letter n is a small letter.
It is super important that students learn to start the letters at the top, not the bottom. We have found that when students start the letters on the bottom line there is a good chance that they will turn out backwards. We were seeing confusing letters and thought “Is it dyslexia?” In this case no, it was not. It was just bad handwriting habits that needed to be corrected by teaching the students to start the lowercase letters at the top, and not the bottom.
This is one of the reasons that I wrote this book R’s Pirate Handwriting Storybook. The shape of the letter r is a really good way to group all the letters that make the same starting shape. Practicing these letters together can also help remove the b d confusion. This book series is full of effective practices for teaching writing.
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