My 3-year-old mixes up b's and d's. Is that normal?

Children who are just beginning to identify and write letters often confuse b, d, p, and q, reversing letters that share similar visual characteristics. Some children may continue to reverse letters into the second grade. Oftentimes, letter reversals subside as children get more reading and writing experience and build their awareness of left and right.  With a child as young as age three, the best course of action is to simply keep on reading and providing plenty of opportunities for your child to interact with letters and recognize different letter shapes. As your child begins to write, you can address the letter reversal issue by practicing correct letter formation and pointing out how the “belly” on the letter b points in a different direction as the belly on the letter d.

Jennie Ito, Ph.D.

Child Development Expert

Jennie Ito is a mother of two and a child development consultant who specializes in children’s play and toys. Before becoming a consultant for LeapFrog, she was an intern at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC, and later worked as a content expert for the Association of Children’s Museum’s “Playing for Keeps” Play Initiative. Jennie earned her doctorate degree in developmental psychology at Queen’s University in Ontario, Canada.