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Teaching Handwriting/ letter reversals.

Discussion in 'Primary' started by TEA2111, Nov 7, 2017.

  1. TEA2111

    TEA2111 Established commenter

    Back in the day when I started teaching, management in my school would never have allowed children to be seated in groups. Instead children had to be facing the board head-on to see how letters are formed, and so the teacher could monitor crossing of the midline, posture, pencil pressure, pencil grip, etc. These days, it is frowned upon for children to not be seated in groups, so now some children will face the board, while others are side-on or with their backs to the board. In my Year 2 class, I have about 30-40% (more than just my usual handful) of my children who reverse their numbers and letters as well as having terrible pencil grips and very poor posture. I am wondering if this could be due to them not having instruction while facing the board in front of them. What are the experiences and thoughts of other teachers experiencing the same problem?
  2. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    I'd no idea it was frowned upon to have children in rows.

    If your class would learn better in rows then put them that way. If you fear it goes against school policy, then speak to the head first.
  3. Alice K

    Alice K Occasional commenter

    It infuriates me when I see children struggling to see the board. It isn't rocket science. I have seen lots of children who have been placed in awkward positions.
  4. bonxie

    bonxie Established commenter

    Put the chairs and tables in whatever arrangement best suits learning. If the children need to see the board, make it easy for them to do so. If they need to work in groups, put them in groups. Change the arrangement from day to day or lesson to lesson as needed.
  5. Wotton

    Wotton Established commenter

    Had children sitting in rows only last year. Never had a child sit with their back to the board. Arrange your seating in the way that best suits your class.
  6. RuthTom

    RuthTom Occasional commenter

    As a pupil I changed from a school that sat in rows was to one that was seated in groups - I remember thinking at the time - as a 9 year old- that it led to a lot less work and far more chatting! I have a small group I with whom I am working on for b d p q 3 5 and 7 reversals. Check they know their left from right first. Many don't.
  7. voiceoftruthandwisdom526

    voiceoftruthandwisdom526 New commenter

    In my (Year 6) class last year, I had a child who consistently reversed her 'b' and 'd' in her writing, which the previous teacher had tried to remedy with the standard "bed" picture on the desk. The fact that she was still doing it when she reached me meant that I decided to try a different approach. I cut out the outlines of the letters she struggled with, and mounted them over two different textures. The different textured letters were something she could trace with a finger before writing. Within a few weeks, I stopped seeing the reversals. Maybe try something like that?
    galerider123 and Norsemaid like this.
  8. TEA2111

    TEA2111 Established commenter

    I don't think I've made my point very clear; it is my belief that it is important for young children to be facing the board while they are learning to read and write for the reasons I have mentioned already. However, the school demands that children sit in groups for social interaction, thereby making me question my beliefs that this could be one reason so many children battle with reversals.
  9. grumbleweed

    grumbleweed Lead commenter

    It's not untypical for children to reverse letters until around 7.
    Developing the hand eye coordination to translate what they see on a vertical surface ie the board onto a horizontal surface ie the paper is actually a very complex skill. You would in my view have more chance correcting this with more experience writing on a vertical surface than you would by moving where they sit.
    I would bet my hat (and it's a lovely hat) that if you speak to year one and reception staff that they don't offer enough vertical surface writing. My colleague and I were just saying the other day we hardly ever see easels in reception classes any more and sometimes even in nurseries. I always had them in mine, we did loads of wall writing, air writing, easel writing and painting, etc and far fewer children reversed letters. We put far too much pressure too early for children to write on a horizontal surface after looking at a vertical one.
    Ask your class former teachers see what they say.
    galerider123, TEA2111 and squashball like this.
  10. TEA2111

    TEA2111 Established commenter

    Thank you grumbleweed...excellent response.
  11. ElizaMorrell

    ElizaMorrell New commenter

    I've just moved into a year 1 class, having taught year 2 for a few years. Bad letter formation is the first real issue I've encountered. I saw your post, read a few articles about vertical surfaces and I'm now planning to set up a writing wall in my classroom tomorrow! Could be tricky when use of plain paper is closely monitored, but I'm armed with research! Let's see what happens!
    Thank you grumbleweed!
    galerider123 likes this.
  12. grumbleweed

    grumbleweed Lead commenter

    Good, I'd love to hear how you get on. If you have can interactive whiteboard you can use that for vertical writing, and if you have a budget (yeah I know) a large whiteboard is a good investment. I made my own big chalkboards with ply and a tin of blackboard paint. And if you have handy parents one might make you some easels or donate one their children have outgrown.
    Good luck enjoy it, your children will gain so much. And also check back what your reception class are doing.
    galerider123 likes this.
  13. galerider123

    galerider123 Lead commenter

    TEA2111 likes this.

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