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5 Tricky Lowercase Letters

You’ve probably noticed that some lowercase letters look different when they are handwritten than when they are typewritten. For example, take a look at lowercase letters A and G below.


different forms of lowercase a and g

Lowercase letters Q, T, and Y can be tricky for beginning readers, too.

child matches butterflies with letters

Fortunately, hands-on activities are an easy way to help your child become familiar with the different forms of these letters.

child colors letter a activity

Fun Practice for Tricky Lowercase Letters!

Tricky Letters Lower Case A activity

Tricky Lowercase Letter A

A typewritten lowercase A looks very different than a handwritten lowercase A. Help your child learn to recognize three different styles of this tricky letter.

Tricky Letters Lower Case G activity

Tricky Lowercase Letter G

A handwritten lowercase G has an open loop or “fishtail,” while many typewritten forms have a closed loop. These activities will help your child recognize both!

Tricky Letters Lower Case Q activity

Tricky Lowercase Letter Q

Depending on whether it is handwritten or typewritten, lowercase Q can have a descender with a curvy or straight tail…or no tail at all! That’s extra tricky!

Tricky Letters Lower Case T activity

Tricky Lowercase Letter T

Lowercase letter T can also be written different ways. Most handwritten forms have a straight stick, while most typewritten forms have a bit of a curl at the bottom.

Tricky Letters Lower Case Y activity

Tricky Lowercase Letter Y

A typewritten Y is usually straight. A handwritten Y can be either straight or curvy. Can your child recognize all three?

Recognizing the various forms of lowercase A, G, Q, T, and Y is part of letter knowledge, one of the Big Five Skills that help kids prepare for learning to read.

girl working on tricky letter activity child drawing on a maze activity little girl shows her letter Y activity

Are you wondering if your child is ready for formal reading instruction? Download this checklist to measure your child’s reading readiness.

Download graphic for Reading Readiness Checklist - click to download

Let me know in the comments below if your child enjoyed these letter recognition activities!

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Dishant Shah

says:

This is so helpful…..I was looking for some sensible tricks for lowercase…I was fooled around many sites…but my search ends here. ..will definitely try with my 4 yr old..thank you

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

I’m glad this was helpful for you, Dishant!

Dawn

says:

Yes those tricky typewritten letters. Great ideas can’t wait to incorporate some of them into our learning.

Tiffany

says:

Are there any additional activities (outside of what’s in the teacher manual in level 1) to help with b, p, d? My daughter knows the sounds when presented individually but gets confused when reading them in a word.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Tiffany,
We do have a blog post about How to Solve Letter Reversals but it is pretty much what is also in the appendix of the All About Reading 1 Teacher’s Manual.

Helping a child overcome letter reversals or confusion can take time. If your child is still pretty young and new to reading, then I recommend gentle correction each time it’s a problem. When she misreads a letter in a word, build the word with the letter tiles and have her sound it out touching each tile as she says its sound. Make yourself a note to review that word both with tiles and by rereading that page where she made the mistake. This ongoing correction and reviewing should show improvement in a few weeks although it is likely to be an occasional problem even after that.

However, if she is older and continuing to have trouble with these letters, some more focused attention may be in order. Choose one letter to focus on first (I recommend d as it is more commonly used than p or b). Spend a couple of minutes a day focused just on that letter. The tactile letters and air writing may seem a bit silly, especially with an older child, but they are effective and I highly recommend them being a large part of your daily focus on letter confusion if this is an ongoing problem. For a couple of minutes a day, do air writing of one letter, trace a tactile letter, and focus on the letter and its sound. When your daughter misreads that letter during her reading lesson, ask her to air write it as she says the sound. Then have her reread the word. If reversals have been going on for a very long time, they can take a very long time to overcome. One of my coworkers worked with her daughter for a few minutes a day for almost every school day of her 4th-grade year to overcome her reversal issues.

I hope this helps, but please let me know if you have further questions or need more information. I’d love to hear how things are going after a couple of weeks.

Ami

says:

I have a child with hearing trouble and frequently mixes the short e and short I sound. She can’t seem to get them straight. Any suggestions? Or is there a blog post about that too?

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Ami,
Struggling with short e and short i is a common issue for many people in certain regions of the US. We do have a blog post on 6 Tips to Help Distinguish Between Short I and Short E that should help. However, please let me know if you need further help or ideas for these commonly confused sounds.

Ami

says:

Yes, I’m quite familiar with accents, however this is not the problem. If you have other ideas I’d love them. I’ve hit pause on moving forward with reading until I get some new ideas to try and get past this. My husband (from Cali/New Mexico) is asked often “where are you from? You don’t have any accent.” Oh, and my kids laugh everytime they hear someone from the great lakes area say “bag” because it sounds like “beg” and they say “agg” for “egg”. They get such a kick out of it and try and copy them for days.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Ami,
Is your daughter receiving help for her hearing troubles? Her audiologist or speech therapist should be aware of her difficulties hearing the difference between short i and short e and can provide help.

However, even though the root cause is not related to an accent known for merging these sounds, the tips and helps in our 6 Tips to Help Distinguish Between Short I and Short E blog post will still be helpful. It includes printables for working on these sounds and includes a way to help make differentiating the sounds more visual and tactile. Tips 2, 4, and 6 will likely be the most helpful but work on pronouncing for spelling and making sure she is saying the sounds correctly before spelling as well.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You’re welcome, Gerline.

Gerline

says:

Thank you for the great ideas and advice on these letters. All the other work you do is great too!

Heather Turner

says:

Wow,I love these! Such an amazing free resource!

Melody Greway

says:

Thank you so much for such great printables! My kids really enjoy your curriculum activities.

Sara Romanski

says:

I will have to give these a try for my youngest who is just now beginning letter recognition.

Nyssa

says:

These worksheets are nice and colorful. My daughter was drawn to the activities because of the colorful layout. These worksheets helped her identify the different font styles of letters.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Thank you, Nyssa! I’m very happy to hear that your daughter was drawn to these and that they were helpful.

Melanie williams

says:

Thank you for sharing your wisdom so freely! I tell anyone that asks or shares about a struggling reader that AAR is by far the best. I am about to go through it again with my fourth child and I’m very excited for her 😍

Kristi

says:

These activities look like they’d help my beginning reader a lot!

Kim

says:

This has been fun and helpful for my son.

Colleen

says:

So, so helpful! Thank you!

Dawn

says:

Thank-You so much for the great 👍 dead and download sheets these will be very useful.

Katrina Angele

says:

My son is just learning to read this year and I’ve notice how he can get confused when the letters look different than what he is used to.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Katrina,
Yes, the different fonts and how letters look in them can be an unexpected roadblock. As proficient adult readers, we don’t think about how a g might look different than the last g we saw. But for new readers, how are they supposed to know that the two very different forms aren’t supposed to be two different letters?

I hope your son finds these activities helpful.

Katie

says:

These are tricky letters, I’ve noticed my kids trying out the different ways of writing them by copying what they see in books!

Delina

says:

So true! They are tricky! Thank you!!

Ashley c

says:

Love this! These are tricky letters and they could definitely use a little extra time

Stanley

says:

My boy Nathan has these difficulties and it breaks my heart that he struggles. Feeling very hopeless, but trust in God to send us the proper help we need.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Stanley,
I am sorry to hear that Nathan is struggling; it can leave you feeling of unsure how to help. I understand; two of my children struggled greatly to learn to read and spell but they did learn with time, lots of consistent work, and the right materials.

I would love to help you with information, suggestions, or just encouragement. How old is he? What are the details about his struggles? What have you tried already?

Cynthia C

says:

Reversals of b and d are a problem for my niece. She would enjoy these activities.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Cynthia,
These activities may help, but we have a blog post specifically about b and d reversals. Check out How to Solve Letter Reversals.

Thomas Gibson

says:

I still have difficulty on writing some of these letters. Thank heavens for computers.

Holly

says:

Thank you for these downloads! My 4 yo just encountered the curvy “y” the other day and kept thinking it was a g. I will definitely print these off for her!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

I’m glad these are timely for you and your little one, Holly!

Krys

says:

Oh, I love these downloads! They’re so cute!

Carolyn Phillips

says:

These are great! Thank you.

Maritza

says:

Love these activities!

Sarah

says:

Awesome activity!

Lori

says:

Great ideas!

Amanda Smith

says:

This would have been setup helpful for my first son

Kristina

says:

Thank you for these wonderful free resources! This was something I didn’t even consider when first teaching reading. Grateful for how thorough your curriculum is.

Wendy Caccia

says:

Great idea!! I love this!

Katy

says:

Thank you so much for these!! So excited to use them :)

nikki

says:

i am very excited to have found you , what a great help

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

I’m glad you find these helpful, Nikki!

Sarah

says:

I needed this! Thank you!

Erma

says:

I’ve never used all about learning, but I’m planning on buying the spelling curriculum at the ttd Ohio conference! So excited to try it!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

That’s great, Erma!

But just so you know, All About Learning press won’t be attending. I looked quickly over the exhibitor list and it doesn’t look like any of our distributors will be there either. I’m sorry!

Another option, although I know it’s not the same as seeing things in person, is to check out our online samples. You can go to the product pages on our website to find links for samples of each product.

All About Spelling samples and scope and sequence links

Also, we do have a 1-year, 100% satisfaction guarantee when you order from our website. If you decide to try one of our products and it just doesn’t work for you and your children, you are free to return the product (even used), for a refund of your purchase price.

Lastly, we are available here, through our Facebook page, by email at support@allaboutlearningpress.com, and by phone at 715-477-1976 for any questions you might have.

Thank you for your interest.

Pam Guiling

says:

I have thought about that, how the typed letters look different and ways to help them. These look like really fun ideas.

Andrea S

says:

I’ve been working on lowercase b and d with my 5 year old. It’s tricky for sure!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Aww, yes, b and d sure are tricky! We have a blog post specifically about these tricky letters, Andrea. It is How to Solve Letter Reversals.

Myra

says:

Love your free activities to help kids with common problems.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Awww, thank you, Myra! 😊

Brittany

says:

Love all the extra help that you offer for our learners!!

Megan

says:

We love these helpful little activities and printables! Thanks for providing resources above and beyond the basic curriculum!

Heidi

says:

We’ve been working on AAR level 1 this year and love it! Looking forward to starting level 2.

Marie Knupp

says:

Love aar! Using level 1 with my daughter and will be starting pre reading with my son soon!

Nakia thomas

says:

These are Great tips and activities!

Emily

says:

These look amazing! My girl still struggles with “g” so I’m going to try these out!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

I hope this helps, Emily! I’d love to hear how it goes.

Brenda

says:

This is an awesome program and the tips and supplemental activities are very helpful!

Megan

says:

Thank you for this! My daughters were having confusion on why its different and I just couldn’t find a way to explain it.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You’re welcome, Megan. Let me know if you have any questions though.

Alyssa

says:

These are great activities and definitely worth supplementing with as my kids have noticed the difference between the written and typed letters.

Ashley

says:

Thanks for the tips! Some of these letters have been tricky for my DD to recognize. I didn’t think about the difference in handwritten vs typewritten letters until she was struggling to recognize letters I knew she knew. It took me a little bit to catch on, lol, but once I did, I started looking for resources to help her recognize the differences. Thanks again!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

I’m glad this will be helpful for you and your daughter, Ashley!

Suzette A.

says:

These materials look like they would be really helpful for learning especially the “tail” letters.

Diana So

says:

I agree! My son just recently got over writing his tail letters backwards. It took him awhile to write them correctly.

Kelley

says:

Thanks for this! That tricky a gets us all the time!

Jenn Brown

says:

I absolutely love this!!! My daughter suffers from pretty profound dyslexia and these types of games help immensely!! I have a suspicion that my youngest daughter is also, I’ll be using these again with her soon!!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

I’m happy to hear these will be helpful for you and your daughters, Jenn! Let me know if you ever need anything or have questions as you help them to succeed.

Catherine

says:

thanks so much! Its wonderful! Thank you for sharing the activities my child love it!

MrsShider

says:

Awesome!! Thank you so much my boys have trouble with some of these.

Anna Pry

says:

great worksheets, these are a problem for my kids

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Anna,
Yes, different fonts can make some letters really tricky for kids, but hopefully, these worksheets will help. Please let us know if they do or if your children still have problems.

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