28 answers

5 Yr. Old Daughter Is Making Some Letters Backwards

I am working on printing letters with my 5 yr. old daughter and have noticed that she is repeatedly making her c's, lower case e's and upper case G's backwards. I have been working with her on and off for about 6 mos. and when she traces the letters or I guide her hand, she does it correctly, but when she tries it on her own, she immediately makes them backwards. Does anyone have any suggestions for how I can encourage her? Thanks for the help!

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Thanks so much everyone for your advice and thoughts. I plan to keep working with her over the summer, but not pushing her to the point where she gets frustrated with it and doesn't want to do it. I appreciate the reassurances!

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It is totally normal, developmentally, for some kids to get letters/numbers backwards. My son who is six does it with numbers all the time. My mom, who was a teacher for forty years said it is totally normal, it will correct itself without any "help" and it is better to just overlook it because the last thing you want to do is erode her confidence or discourage writing. At school, he is in first grade, his teachers do not correct him. They just read the numbers as they were clearly intended and check his work that way. My understanding is that it is not a skill issue, it is a perception issue, kids just don't see things the way we do until they get a little older.

1 mom found this helpful

Good Morning,
My son is in Kindergarten and he also makes his c's and G's backwards. His kindergarten teacher said this is typical of this age. I noticed he is left handed most of the time. However, when he uses his right hand he writes these letters correctly. When my daughter was this age she also did this but wrote complete words backwards.(It was a mirror image).He will be going to Camp Read-A-Lot this summer (summer school) through the school system. He is 7 now. He went to a young 5's program last year.
Hope this helps.
Chris K

1 mom found this helpful

Let it go!!!

I have two children one a 12 year old boy who was an strong reader and who is now in AP classes. I was paniced when we had reversals in K and 1st and even into 2nd. It was the K teacher who told me not to worry. My now 9 year old had reversals in K - 1 - 2 and she is now getting out of it with her I was much more laid back. I got concerned when she didn't have the confidence to write and she would ask me "mommy which way does the letter go". Her worrying was holding her back from actually getting the work done. I think the most important thing is that they read and write even if they make mistakes. They totally grow out of it and too much focus will make them very nervous and uncomfortable with writing.

1 mom found this helpful

As a kindergarten teacher, it is perfectly normal for five year olds to make this mistake. Keep practicing with her but do not push her or the subject if she becomes frustrated. Take a break from it and come back to it later. It will correct itself over time. Be patient with it and your daughter. It is normal for children to do this at this age. Some children even write their letters backwards so if you hold a mirror up to the word they wrote, you can read what they just wrote perfectly in the mirror. I hope this helped you. Remember it will pass. :)

1 mom found this helpful

I am a preschool teacher and I have also had the Gazelle Training. As you know the Gazelle assessment is used for kindergarten testing. But it also breaks things down into development milestones and what happens at each age. It is very developmentally appropriate for your daughter to write her letters backwards. She may at some point write her entire name backwards. This is ok. She is at the developmental age where her brain cannot always correctly tell her hand what to do. she will look at those letters and know they aren't right, but when she puts pencil to paper they will come out backwards. Her hand and brain will catch up to each other. The important thing to do now is to point it out to her, but gently and just move on. Don't have her practice those particular letters continuously. That only causes undue frustration and isn't fun for her. Just be patient, it will undue itself.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi S.,
I am a certified teacher and currently work as a Reading Specialist. Reversing letters/ numbers is developmental and very common. It is fine to demonstrait the correct direction when writing letters, but don't worry about it too much. As time goes by this should correct itself. Your daughter will grow out of it. It's really not a big deal.
Hope this helps!

If you notice that the letters you noted are started on the right side and go left. Most letters start on the left and go right. It is harder for the young brain to get used to the spacing so they just do it backwards for awhile. She will get it right.
Good luck and God Bless!

This is totally normal. I took a parenting class when my son was 4 and they told us in that class to start watching for that because it is very common. My son did it too. It doesn't last long and the kids learn to correct it themselves.

My daughter is ending 4th grade and only this year is doing that LESS. In 3rd grade it was down to only consistent with 4's and j's. She gets straight A's, qualifies for Talented and Gifted, is very creative, and her teacher's are thrilled with her, so don't worry even if it doesn't stop when its "supposed" to. No teacher ever did more than correct it as they graded, and never showed any concern. She does it now when she's tired or bored and not paying attention. Worse thing to do is make her feel bad about it. Her mind is just working things out in its own way.

Have you had her eyes checked? That might be something worth checking into.. and while your there, mention she is writing some specific letters backwards. The optometrist may have some suggestions on how to help her with that. My son sees a developmental optometrist... Dr. Houdek in Westland.... he also does vision therapy in his office.

She may just need more time too. I've noticed with my son that he will struggle and struggle with something and then one day the light bulb comes on.

Good luck

Dear S. G.,

We have been raising our two older granddaughters for nearly 11 years and the younger one did many backward letters. The pre-school teacher told us not to be very concerned about it because many kids do that. She turned out to be predominantly left-handed and she stopped doing this on her own. We never coached her or anything. Once the teacher calmed our fears, we just forgot about it and it resolved itself in time.

Hope this helps you.

L. C.

i wouldn't worry about it...my daughter did the same thing...and she is in 2nd grade right now, and tops in her class.

My daughter started doing this (and writing words backwards) when she was 3-4. I spoke with her preschool teacher who said this is common and most kids will fix it on their own. I would speak with a teacher and continue to be positive working with her.

its very normal. i was told by the school this can happen up til the 3rd grade so i wouldnt worry about it.

I remember being so frustrated by that as a kid! I also thought faster than my hand could write so, putting the last letter first. My name was Yam :)
One of the big factors is summer vacation, it's to long for the kids to go. They lose a lot of what they learned, use it or loose it right. So I'd say send letters to family members of what your summer fun was. You'll be laying out the left right, top to bottom format for reading too. Any way to make it fun is my goal. :) A. H

my 8 year old has done this. I remember the teacher saying as long as they stop by 3rd grade it is cool. She also is unsure when to do capitals sometimes..oh well.


I have a 6 yr old son and a 5 yr old girl both that are finishing kindergarten this week. They both do this occasionally as well. I was concerned, but both their teachers (they do have different teachers) said it is perfectly normally. I also volunteer in their classrooms once a week and also see other children doing it as well. I wouldn't be too concerned with it now. I just try to correct my children as I see it happening.

My own daughter is too young to write but I went through this phase as a child as well. It went on for quite a while and my mom was just about to get me tested for dyslexia when all of a sudden, I stopped. My biggest problem was writing the letter "J". Just keep working with her but and eventually she should get it.


Don't fret. Really. Many kids make some of their letters and numbers backwards into the first grade. Yes the teachers and parents work at correcting it, but it is not uncommon and is not always a sign of a problem, especially if it is consistantly the same ones. If she knows the letters when she sees them, her eyes are probably not the issue either. I've been told that it's an eye to brain back out to the hand signal that sometimes gets flip flopped.
You might also see if she notices that they are different when you ask her if they look the same...does this e look like this e...type of thing. If she answers yes, then have her trace with her finger the letters and ask if her hand went the same way both times. These are a couple of tricks we use in the kindergarten classrooms to help them see when they have done this. Getting them to notice it is a big part of the battle.
Be loving and patient with her but also be very thankful that it's only a small few.
A few prayers about it might make both of you feel better too.

From what you wrote, you are ahead of the norm and are interested in what she does...these go a long way towards great results!
Mom of 4--5 to 10yrs.
I'm homeschooling some of them again, and I've assisted in kindergarten classrooms for the last 2 years also.

Perfectly normal - my son is just finishing kindergarten and he does it to.

My son is just finishing kindergarten and does the same thing with a few letters. His teacher said it's totally normal. She said they usually get it right by mid 1st grade. I'd just keep doing what you're doing for now and see what happens in a few months.

Is she left handed? A lot of lefties transpose letters. My son writes a few of his letters and numbers backwards and we just keep working on it. My son will enter 1st grade in the fall and his teacher has asked that I just keep practicing over the summer. Not the best advice, but this is our plan.


Hi S.,

My son did the same thing for a long time. My daughter did as well, but not as long. Her teacher said that it is still considered normal thru second grade. Just be patient and don't stress her, it will just make things worse.


Hi S. - this is really normal and not something you want to sweat about or make a big deal about with your daughter. Unless she is doing a lot of things that indicate a bigger problem with reading or comprehension I wouldn't make a big deal of this, it will just stress both of you out and she'll outgrow it. Our son did that with a couple of letters until he was in 2nd grade, if I remember correctly...and I might not, he's almost 20! Enjoy yourself! Beth

Hi S.,

This is so normal, and I'd say not to worry about it! Kids often reverse their letters, even through first grade. She'll get it right with time.I used to be a teacher :)


Yup, normal! Most kids do this. She will get the hang of it.

This is pretty common and I would not worry about it too much until she is 9 or 10. I see children do it all the time at school, even though they know the difference and can sometimes make them the right way. She will most likely stop on her own. Just have to give her some time :)

Hi S., do not worry. My son is in all day kindegarden and he does the same with different letters. The teacher said not to be concerned, this is totally normal and they will out grow it usally by 2nd grade.

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