How to teach the difference between lowercase b & d:

Like many children, John Robert has a difficult time telling the difference between the lowercase letters b & d.  This is very common among young children and we shouldn’t feel an urgency to fix it.  Our children will discover the right way in their own time.  To assist our children in their journey, here’s a fun way to help them remember the difference between the two letters.

Make a “bed” by spelling the word out either on paper, with your hands, a moveable alphabet or with sandpaper letters like we did.  Find a doll or action figure that fits inside your bed to help further indicate that the letters “make” a bed.  You have the mattress with the bedposts sticking up.  Do you see it?

Now, give them objects that start with either “b” or “d” to sort under the correct letter.  John Robert continuously forgot which one was which during the activity.  I continued to remind him to say the word “bed” to find out which one was “b” and which one was “d”.


This is the first time we’ve needed rugs in our schoolroom to distinguish the boys’ working areas.  I guess I’ll be buying rugs soon.  Asher insisted on working right next to JR.  I gave Asher the three letters he knows right now, “a”, “s”, and “o” and one object for each letter.  He loves to do what JR is doing so I try to find age appropriate activities for him to do alongside John Robert.  I love the photo of JR scratching his head while he’s thinking.  This was a difficult activity for him and I’m proud of him working so hard at it.

Have you tried the “bed” exercise in your home?

10 thoughts on “How to teach the difference between lowercase b & d:

  1. Great post! My youngest is 7 and he also struggled with his “b” and his “d.” I had discovered the “bed” thing when I was looking for help with that issue. I was skeptical because I thought it was too easy, but it really did work, lol! I wish there was something just as easy for his struggles with “g” and “q.” :D

    Thanks for sharing!

    Homeschooling and helping my visual spatial learner have fun with school and feel better about himself, one day at a time.

    • Hmmm…what could we make up for g & q??? That’s a toughie. I’m glad the “bed” exercise worked for you. It seems to be helping with JR too. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. :)

  2. This is such a cute idea!!
    I made up a little poem for Xander…a “b” has a bump on the belly…a “d” has a bump on the back!! It’s cute to hear him sing it to himself while trying to remember. We will certainly do this too…he will love it!!!

  3. What a great idea! Thanks. Also love to hear more on how you work with the different ages. My kids are 2,4 and 6. I am often finding myself running madly just to keep up and then finding that I can’t give any of them enough time…….

  4. I’m picky about the cartoons I let my girls watch. But one that I LOVE is Word World on PBS. It’s on Netflix now and you can read each episode guide to find the appropriate “lesson” to match what you are teaching. They have an episode based on B and D and it incorporates the making of the world bed to sleep on. For those who haven’t heard of it, here is their website.

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