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How to use Decodable Readers for Reversal Letter Intervention and a FREEBIE!

Updated: Aug 9, 2022

Have you often wondered how you can help students decode in reading when they struggle with a common reversal letter? Do you want to help your students to individually decode letters and to decode a word during reading instruction? What can be done to remediate decoding problems and letter reversals at the Kindergarten level? In this blog post I will answer all of these questions and more!

As a Kindergarten teacher and Mom of 3 dyslexic children I have often felt empty handed when it comes to finding resources that can be easily used at home and in the general education classroom. I was frustrated with only finding expensive curriculums like Orton-Guilliam and long trainings like Wilson. So, in 2011 I created the first of several resources I now use in my classroom and with my own children.

This past year I started writing silly stories that would capture children's attention for my students that struggle to decode letters and words. I used multiple words that began with the 4 most common letter reversals, b,d,p and q. I wrote these stories with decodable CVC words and pre-primer/primer sight words. At first I simply typed these stories out with simple stick figure drawings to see if they would be helpful to my daughter (6) and my struggling Kindergartners.


My Kindergartners and my daughter loved them! They would ask for them over and over again! They would ask if I had written anymore silly stories everyday! I knew I had a hit on my hands!

So out of this excitement I have created a line of books and activities to decode in reading with reversal letter b,d,p and q!


Focusing on one letter at a time I began with b. I would show my students how to hold their hands to form the b and the d. For students that I knew struggled with these reversals I also introduced my Dyslexia Desk Tools which you can find for free here:

Once we went over the hand motions I would take out the target word decoding strips and would help each child decode as needed. I would then take out the sight word fluency cards to become familiar with the sight words that are included in the book itself.

Then we would move into the book. We read the pictures first to see if we can figure out what is happening in the story, then we go back to read the words. We compare and contrast what we brainstormed from the pictures and what the words actually told us.

After reading and discussing the book I have the students go back and highlight the words that start with the target letter, in this case Dd. I encourage them to try to read the words as they highlight. Each time they would see a b,d,p or q I would have them trace over the letter with their finger and say the letter name and sound.

The students could then move into the activities that are included in the book for independent practice. I have found the dry erase cards with alkonin boxes to be especially helpful with kids that struggle with common letter reversals. They can keep their copies of the book with them to refer to while completing the activities.

My students loved trying to read the words on the lift the flap circle. They took turns decoding and raising the flap to see if they decoded correctly. They would help each other when one of them would struggle and congratulate others when they got the words correct building confidence in their reading skills and encouraging them to keep trying even if it was hard.

For independent practice and group work I would give my students the word/picture puzzles, dry erase writing sheets, word sheets, reading circles and comprehension sheets. This would further the learning and help my students to practice proper letter formation and direction.

To help me assess their learning I used my observations during group times and the included worksheets. One for word recognition and one for simple comprehension. I found that given the simplicity of the activities my students were more excited about reading groups and were gaining not only reading skills but also building confidence in what they did know instead of focusing in what they don't know....yet!

Using the target letters one at a time in several different ways engaged each of my students. They were able to practice the target letters hands-on and learn through multisensory activities. Focusing on one letter at a time through several books, over several weeks helped them to truly solidify the direction of the letters. Even if they were not dyslexic or struggled in other ways my students were able to succeed with these readers because they are decodable.

Grab a free sample of Dog can Dig and be sure to check out the growing bundle of Decodable Readers on TpT!

Happy Teaching!


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