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Posted: Sun Dec 07, 2003 8:53 am
Research reviewed by Casbergue and Greene (1988) has indicated that there are only limited differences between the sensory and perceptual abilities of dyslexics and normal readers and the training which they reviewed did not appear to have any real effects. When there are reversals in letters , this appears to be due to the lack of familiarity with easily confusable letters such as b’s and d’s , which actually look quite similar. Word reversals seem to be due to limited ability with the sequencing of letters and both of these types of errors are common in early readers who subsequently make normal progress. This was confirmed by Vellutino (1987 ) who summarised some extensive investigations into the perceptual abilities of children , based upon the use of meaningless symbols . In these studies , even if children had reading difficulties , they were still able to perform at a normal level when the task involved perceptual matching and in using perceptually based rules for combining symbols. When a sequence of symbols were matched with spoken words , children who used a “whole word “ strategy made typical reversal errors, wheras children trained to link symbols with sounds made very few.
Posted: Wed Dec 10, 2003 8:51 pm
It is teaching letters in isolation, ie as in teaching the alphabet, that is mainly responsible for p b d confusions etc. For most children, if not all, letters are the first 'objects' they encounter in life that do not obey all the rules governing object permanence. Real objects that children are familiar with can be rotated in all three physical dimensions without being altered. Letters, on the other hand, are two dimensional visual symbols with a fixed orientation. In order to prevent confusions occuring letters should only be presented in their correct orientation. The simplest way to do this is to introduce them within whole words, eg, pat, mad, dot, etc., and never in isolation or as story characters that lead physically active lives. Although I have not collected any scientific data on this, local schools who have followed this approach report a drop in p b d confusion and mirror writing of about 80% in reception infant classes. This clearly implies that this so-called dyslexic symptom is a function of inaccurate tuition rather than an inherent cognitive or perceptual problem suffered by some children.
Posted: Thu Dec 11, 2003 9:53 am
Just to add to what David and Jim have contributed, if pupils are being asked to attend to whole words as pictures, there is no particular reason why they should notice the exact orientation of each one of the individual letters in words. Hence, teaching letters in isolation and a sight word approach to the teaching of reading and spelling are both at least partly responsible for the problem of 'reversals'.
Posted: Fri Dec 12, 2003 1:24 am
I also think it helps the reversal/confusion situation to use the handwriting style of joined writing with leaders, that is, starting every lower case letter 'on the line'.
'd' is practised in the first group of 'curly c' letters. These letters need to be practised and practised until they are 'automatic'.
c a o d g s qu f
'b' is good to practise along with the group 'h, b, k'.
'h' is first to get the down, then up action - this leads naturally to writing 'b' in the right direction (rather than the number 6 shape).
'p' can follow practising 'r', 'n' and 'm'.
I have found this to sort out most confusion and reversals.
Hope this helps.