Typical 6-year-old children’s confusion between “b” and “d” in reading cannot be assimilated to reversal - Archive ouverte HAL Access content directly
Journal Articles Reading and Writing Year : 2022

Typical 6-year-old children’s confusion between “b” and “d” in reading cannot be assimilated to reversal

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Abstract

Young children, who are exposed to the Latin script letters, experience difficulties in distinguishing between the reversible letters b and d, and may therefore transform b into d (and vice versa). When they begin to write, in a left-to-right writing/reading culture, they also often turn the Arabic digits in the direction of writing/reading, thus producing  instead of 3 for example. However, two different terms or processes, namely confusion and reversal, are used in the literature to label these apparent transformations. This study aimed to provide empirical evidence that the two processes are indeed very different. The sample consisted of 529 first graders (Mage = 6.21 years) who participated in the French National assessment at the beginning of the school year. Simple linear, Bayesian, and logistic regression modelings of the left-right reversal rate in writing the digits as a function of the confusion rate in children's recognition of b and d showed a negative relation between the two rates, and a non-parametric test yielded a significant negative correlation, rS(318) =-0.373, p < .001. These results seem to rule out the possibility that it is the same process that leads to reversing characters (letters or digits) in writing and to misrecognizing b as d (or vice versa). This is the first strong empirical evidence that the processes of reversal and confusion are very different. Consequently, it would be a mistake to treat a confusion between b and d as a reversal of b into d (and vice versa).
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hal-03842024 , version 1 (07-11-2022)

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Jean-Paul Fischer, Christophe Luxembourger. Typical 6-year-old children’s confusion between “b” and “d” in reading cannot be assimilated to reversal. Reading and Writing, 2022, 35, pp.2433-2451. ⟨10.1007/s11145-022-10290-6⟩. ⟨hal-03842024⟩
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