ReverseFixUp - a Simple Tool to Help With Visual Letter and Number Reversals
Letter and number reversals are a major handicap for a significant number of students, making reading, writing and math much more difficult. As an educator focusing upon learning needs, I have devised a simple but invaluable tool – Re✓erseFixUps – that often has an amazing impact on correcting the cause of troublesome letter and number reversals. Its success is one of the foundations that motivated me to create the Teach All Kids website that enables us to share this valuable concept tool with others.
Although originally designed and used as a valuable thinking-skills tool, shortly after introducing ReverseFixUps as a tool to teach other concepts, I began to notice that students also stopped reversing their letters and numbers. Other available methods, by comparison, proved to have very limited success.
As an educator who both recognized the learning need these students faced and being focused on what needed to be achieved, I soon realized that Re✓erseFixUps was an important learning technique tool. Not only was it proving to be a very successful teaching tool technique for my students, its ongoing use with multiple students was providing strong empirical evidence that a significant percentage of all students who reverse their letters and numbers will benefit considerably by using Re✓erseFixUps regularly.
The Underlying Problem
When a student is unable to isolate, identify and organize the individual lines and arcs that make up a letter, they need a tool to help them learn how to readily see and distinguish these distinct combinations of lines and arcs.
To better understand this concept, consider the letters: 'b', 'd', 'p', 'q'. Most people automatically see and understand the difference between the lines and arcs, the components, that make up these individual letters. Thus, they recognize that if the vertical line comes first and extends above, immediately followed by an arc or circle sitting on the line on the right, the letter is a 'b'. If, on the other hand, the arc or circle comes before the vertical stroke, the letter is a 'd'; and similarly, if the vertical line extends below the writing line, it is a 'p', etcetera. Although, this is a very simple concept for most of us, there are some children who will perceive 'b', 'd', 'p', 'q' as the same single letter or, at best, as only 2 different letters.
To help parents further appreciate this concept issue, I like to compare letters, like 'b', 'd', 'p', 'q' to a chair. A chair is called a chair regardless of whether the chair’s 'front' is facing us, its 'back' is towards us or the chair has been placed ‘upside down’ — the chair, regardless of its position, is still a chair. Yet, we expect children to know that, if the chair (or letter) is facing one direction, it is a 'b' and, if it is facing the same direction but is upside down, it is a 'p'. Some children’s brains don't interpret the distinct 'line plus curve' spatial combinations, nor the different 'facing directions' that make up each individual letter. To help these students learn to see and recognize both the letters of the alphabet and numbers as a series of lines and curves that form distinctly different letters and numbers, students will benefit greatly from using the Re✓erseFixUps series. I can’t stress enough the value of this important and very useful resource, Re✓erseFixUps’s, is for the immediate and ongoing educational development of students with such visual reversals.
The Tool and Technique
Students reproduce a ReverseFixUps design by copying the line pattern from a provided linked dots set onto an adjacent blank template of identical dots.
Re√erseFixUp consists of a 5 by 5 dot grid configuration. A set of lines are drawn on the dot pattern, (beginning with vertical and horizontal lines). The student copies the pattern of lines onto an adjoining identical empty dot-grid template. As they advance through the various levels of worksheets, the patterns become progressively more complex, (ie., varying lengths and the addition of diagonal lines). Each level from PreBeginners to Expert have been carefully designed to enable students to successfully progress through each series. In the beginning, the pattern may be composed of only 2 or 3 lines. For kids who are really struggling, you should go over each line with a color marker to make them more distinct, (ie., use different color markers on each separate line). In very severe cases, the child may completely reverse the pattern and will need help to determine which dot to use when starting. Even children who are otherwise bright and motivated, may need help getting started. When needed, show them where to start by having them count the number of dots from a corner, thereby helping them gain an understanding and knowledge of the spatial orientation of the Re✓erseFixUps design, (eg., say "starting at the upper left corner go 1 dot down and 1 dot over, to the right"). By repeatedly and consistently copying Re✓erseFixUps designs, students progressively ‘learn’ to see the different shapes and components that make up letters and numbers and so overcome their letter-reversal perception issues. As students become more proficient at doing Re✓erseFixUps patterns, they make fewer and fewer letter and number reversals. Moreover, the few reversals that do occur are often quickly corrected by the students themselves. Fortunately, the results are not only extraordinary but the benefits are also long lasting — with consistent practice, the child is truly learning to see things differently.
Though I’ve been using this technique for years, I am still continually amazed at how well Re✓erseFixUps works. Seeing the difference it makes in kids’ lives leaves me very enthusiastic about Re✓erseFixUps designs, not only for letter recognition but also as a great thinking-skill exercise. I use them with all my students at all ability levels from kindergarten through to working with adults. Interestingly, the students actually love to do them. I can't stress enough how important these Re✓erseFixUps designs are to helping a student be successful when they have some learning issues.
Can something so easy work? Can this simple educational tool, Re✓erseFixUps, equip and empower your struggling student? Can we really 'Teach All Kids,' even those who are struggling'? Look no further. Surprisingly often, the answer is a resounding, Yes!
See samples of our Re✓erseFixUps worksheets. (Free Worksheets)
See our Teaching Resources for ReverseFixUp for worksheets, lesson plans, etc.
- PreBeginner's ReverseFixUp worksheets.
- Beginner's ReverseFixUp worksheets.
- Intermediate's ReverseFixUp worksheets.
- Advanced ReverseFixUp worksheets.
- Expert ReverseFixUp worksheets.
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Recognizing the Power of ReverseFixUp
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