Visual recognition difficulties: Identifying primary school students’ directional confusion in writing letters and numbers

Janet Richmond, Myra Taylor


Background: Occupational therapists often assess primary school learners for letter and number reversal tendencies using scales which require recognition of reversed letters and numbers; however, these scales do not generally look at learners’ written production of letters and numbers to measure their reversal tendencies.  This study aimed to determine whether learners reverse the same letters and numbers in reading and in writing.

Method: This study utilised the Richmond Reversal Rating (RRR) Scale to identify which language symbols 118 primary school learners found difficult to recognise as being reversed when reading a series of letters and numbers and writing 20 letters and nine numerals. 

Analysis: Nonparametric correlations and parametric Chi-square statistics were used to investigate differences in the learners’ reading recognition and written production.

Results: Letters and numbers reversed in recognition (reading) and writing were similar. Moreover, eleven letters and three numbers were identified as difficult to orientate on a page.

Conclusion: Explicit teaching to remediate letter and number reversals and font use are paramount to improving language symbol orientation.   


Key Words: Written production, reading recognition, letter and number reversals, primary school learners


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ISSN 0038-2337 (print), ISSN 2310-3833 (online)

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