In a nutshell
Most of the time, ‘d’ makes its usual ‘d is for dog’ sound. It is worth noting though that sometimes ‘d’ has a ‘t’ sound – usually when it is paired with ‘e’ at the end of a word, (for example, ‘jumped’, or ‘ticked’).
Many kids mix up ‘d’ and ‘b’ when they are first learning to write. Mostly, this is just a part of the learning process – after all, imagine if you suddenly had to learn 26 new letters and use them to write words; I bet you’d make a few mistakes!
If your child is having a lot of difficulty, one simple method is to write the word ‘bed’ for them in big letters. You then explain how the word looks a bit like an old fashioned bed (with the ‘bedposts’ at either end). On the other hand, if you write the ‘b’ and the ‘d’ the wrong way you end up with ‘deb’, which no longer looks like a bed. Writing ‘bed’ like this can be a simple method your child uses to remind themselves of the correct way to write these letters, until they become second nature.
It is possible that writing mirror images of letters is a sign of dyslexia. If you have any concerns, you may find these links useful:
This tongue twister might seem a bit silly on a first glance – but it actually does make sense. In addition to well and truly reinforcing the sound of the letter, its use of ‘doctor’ as a noun and a verb could puzzle your child and provoke an interesting conversation. See which one of you can say it the fastest without making a single mistake!
When a doctor gets sick and another doctor doctors him, does the doctor doing the doctoring have to doctor the doctor the way the doctor being doctored wants to be doctored, or does the doctor doing the doctoring of the doctor doctor the doctor as he wants to do the doctoring?
The rare ‘dw’ sound
Every now and then you’ll come across a word with ‘dw’ in it, such as ‘dwarf’, ‘dwindle’ and the name ‘Dwayne’. Some people find this hard sound to say – they end up virtually saying ‘duh-warf’ instead of ‘dwarf’. Can you make this sound perfectly? It is quite hard. Maybe your child will be better at it than you!
Here is a fun YouTube song about ‘d’, from Sesame Street, featuring Ernie and the Cookie Monster.
‘I Spy’ words
‘I spy with my little eye, something beginning with….’ is a great game to play to reinforce the sound that a letter makes and it can be a fun game to kill some time – for example on a long car trip. Here is a selection of short words starting with ‘d’ for you to use:
dad, den, dog, dot, dark, deer, deli, dent, desk, dice, dime, dish, dock, doll, door, duck, dusk
This worksheet gives your child lots of opportunities to practice writing capital D.
This worksheet focuses on the lower case letter d.
This worksheet gives your child an introduction to the basic sound that ‘d’ makes, and also allows them to practice writing the capital and lower case letter d.
Quite a few simple English words contain the ‘dr’ sound and this worksheet gives your child the chance to practice reading it.