Dazzling D’s and Buzzing B’s

Emergent Literacy


Shannon Moon


Rationale:  Often students can get d’s and b’s confused.  Being able to recognize the letter correctly is vital.  This lesson will help children know the difference between D and B by practice and direct instruction.


Materials: The letter tiles b, d, a, y, e, o; Elkonin boxes, a writing tablet and pencils, draw erase board and markers, and Dr. Seuss’s ABC book published by Random House.



  1. Explain what we will be working on today.  Introduce the letters to the students.  Sometimes we can get confused when writing with the letters b and d.  But we can do it!
  2. Let’s review the lines on your paper.  The line at the top that is solid we call the sky.  The line in the middle that is dotted is the fence.  The line at the bottom that is solid is the ground. 
  3. Now I’m going to show you how to write the letters.  Okay, watch me as I write the letters on the board.  Eyes on ME!  For a lowercase d make a little c then a straight line done to make a little d.  Now is your chance to practice.  Get out your paper and pencils and try with me.  Students practice.  As they practice, I’ll walk around and help the students that are having trouble.  We will do the same procedure except with the lowercase b.  Start at the sky, go down, b-bounce up an around.  That might be a little confusing, but lets practice and see how we do.
  4. Let’s think of as many words that begin with the letter d and I’ll write them on the board.  Do the same with the letter b.  When we get about six words for each letter, I’m going to point to a letter and I want you to tell me which letter it is, d or b.  Correct when they answer wrong.
  5. Get out Elkonin Boxes (2) and practice spelling this word. The first word is be.  Let’s see who got it right.  Wonderful!  Add a box.  Next word is dog.  Who’s finished?  Everyone did great!  We are going to try some more.  The next word is bay.  Let’s see who got it first.  Great job!  Next word is day.  All right, who was first?  Can anyone think of a sentence using any of these words.  Raise your hand and tell me so I can write them on the board.
  6. Model how to make the letter’s d and b with string.  Model: Cut a longer piece of string and a shorter piece of string to demonstrate a b and d.
  7. Read the section of Dr. Seuss’s book with the letter’s b and d and have them point out words using both of the letters.
  8. Have a list of words (bad, bib, bud, dub, did, dad) and ask them to circle the words that start with b and d.  They will turn in the paper and I’ll determine where more help is needed.


Reference: Lesniak, T.  and Murray, B. (1998).  The Letterbox Lesson.  Auburn University: The Reading Teacher (pp. 1-4).

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