Today we focus on understanding directionality – letter directionality, as well as children recognising the environment around them.
Directionality in handwriting, or letter directionality, is the ability to control and change the direction of the pencil on the page. This includes forming the same shape but in different directions. It’s important to remember that it’s not unusual for young children to reverse letters when they read and write. This is often called mirror writing. Typically, the letters b, d, q, p, and the numbers 9, 5, and 7 are reversed. If, however, this continues after the age of seven years, it could signal a problem.
It is often thought that writing letters backwards is a sign of dyslexia, but this not necessarily true. It is more likely due to poor working memory as well as a weakness in visual processing skills. Your child could lack visual discrimination or visual directionality.
- Visual discrimination is the ability to detect differences in objects, symbols, or shapes. Difficulties with visual discrimination impacts reading and maths skills, making it challenging to discriminate between different words, letters and numbers. It’s an important skill for children because they must be able to see the differences in printed letters so they can learn to read.
- Visual directionality is the ability to detect how words appear, left to right, on a page of text. It supports comprehension by allowing children to gain information from text.
Another example of directional difficulties is when, following directions, a child makes a left turn when a right turn was indicated. Directional awareness is understanding the concepts of left and right, up and down, in and out, top and bottom, and front and back. Activities with movement where direction is important increase these skills and are vital for the child’s development of movement awareness.
The following activities will help your child’s directional awareness.
- Place arrows on the floor so your child can follow directions and stand in the direction the arrows are pointing.
- Completing a maze means following a path and changing the direction of their line. This activity also builds eye-hand coordination and fine-motor skills.
- Writing on the blackboard.
- Forming letters from playdough or pipe cleaners.
- Outline letters/words with glue, allow the glue to dry, and then ‘feel’ the letters/words.
For more information visit: https://bonnieterrylearning.com/blog/laterality-and-directionality-relate-to-learning/