33 answers

Child Writing Backwards

Hi Mama's,
I have noticed that when my 4 year old son is writing, he is writing some of his letters and words backwards, almost like a mirror image. I have mentioned this to his preschool teacher and she told me that is perfectly normal for some kids his age when they are learning to write, and that he could possibly be left handed. This is a very good possiblity because I am left handed and several of my extended family members are also. She started working with him on writing from Green to Red (focuses on going from left to right), but when the stickers arent on the page he still writes backwards. He is using his right hand to write and eat with mostly, but will also use his left too. I know it is also a sign of dislexia (which also runs in my hubby's family), but he is too young yet for diagnosis. Have any of you mamas experienced this with any of your children? If so what did you do? Should I push him to try to use his left hand more or just let him figure it out on his own? I don't want him to be behind because he's having to relearn everything with the other hand later on. Being left handed is hard enough in a dominantly right handed world. I'd appreciate your thoughts. Thanks!

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

Dear L.

I am L., my 5 year old just completed pre-k and he writes some of his letter backwards, i was told by the the teachers, that it's normal, so don't worry he won't be behind in school continue to work with him.

bless you
L. Whetstone

1 mom found this helpful

I wouldn't worry too much about it. I know I wrote that way when first learning. Also, don't worry about him being left handed. If he is already writing and eating with his right hand chances are if he does write with his left hand he will still be right hand dominant. I am that way. I write with my left hand but pretty much do everything else right-handed. It's nice to be able to eat with either hand when sitting at a crowded table, I don't have to worry about where I sit.

1 mom found this helpful

I did the same thing when I was learning to write. Not because I was left handed or dislexic, but because I have an astigmatism. I literally couldn't see what I was writing. Try having him tested for a basic vision problem first.

1 mom found this helpful

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Hi L. - My now - 21 year old - who is left handed did the same thing. I can remember panicking and asking the teacher about it. I got the same response as you. She is about to graduate from college. We worked with her and she eventually started writing correctly. This did not go on for a long time. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

Listen to the teacher...this is TOTALLY normal and there's probably absolutely nothing wrong with your son. My 7 year old still does that especially with the letter 'S', the number '5', the letter 'Z' and the number '2'.

I asked his first grade teacher last year about it and she said that it is totally normal and at this age even up through around the 3rd grade they don't really crack down on writing style as long as they are making an effort to write. I have also noticed he still does it almost 3 weeks into 2nd grade but again, I asked his 2nd grade teacher last week and she said that it's something she is working with most of the kids on.

My son can get all the letters right as long as the letter chart is in front of him, but when he's tired or in a hurry he messes up whether or not the chart is right in front of him, or if it's missing.
RELAX...he's fine!

1 mom found this helpful

Your son's teacher is right. I have been a first grade teacher for 10 years, and I always have parents who are concerned about the same thing. Individual letter reversal is common and developmentally appropiate until around age 8. Kindergarden will work on this a great deal, and he will most likely figure it out within the next year. If he is still writing entire sentences or words backwards (and I don't mean words like saw and was that all kids write backwards) toward the end of kindergarden, he may need to work with an Occupational Therapist. Every school should have one, so just bring your concerns to his teacher then. Since you have a family history of Dyslexia, you are in an advantaged situation to be able to spot the warning signs early, so do stay on top of things, but remember that it is extremely rare for a child to be diagnosed before age 8.

As far as which hand he uses, just let him choose. He will eventually settle on one hand, and if he doesn't, all the better. That way he will be able to use both hands well and when he breaks his arm on his bike, he'll still be able to do his homework! :-)

1 mom found this helpful

I wouldn't worry too much about it. I know I wrote that way when first learning. Also, don't worry about him being left handed. If he is already writing and eating with his right hand chances are if he does write with his left hand he will still be right hand dominant. I am that way. I write with my left hand but pretty much do everything else right-handed. It's nice to be able to eat with either hand when sitting at a crowded table, I don't have to worry about where I sit.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi L.,
I went through the same thing with my oldest daughter two years ago. When she was in pre-k at four years old she would write backwards. I was also concerned and talked to her teacher who said it was normal at that age. She did it so well I thought something could be wrong. Well now she just finished kindergarten and doesn't have any problems. What ever stage she went through it ended. She is also lefthanded. I wouldn't worry about it, it is normal for that to happen at this age. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

HI L.,
I'm a Pre-K teacher here in Effingham and let me reassure you, writing backwards is a completely normal thing. Most, if not all, kids go through this stage around 3 or 4. It is a developmental part of writing. Just keep presenting him with his name and other words correctly and it will work itself out. Don't tell him it's wrong, because he won't see it. Tracing papers sometimes help but let me also say this, research has shown that writing your name correctly shouldn't even occur until about 6 years old. We are pushing our little ones to grow up so fast! Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

L., this happened to my sister's 4th child. I asked her if she had any advice and the following is what she wrote:

M. did this and was diagnosed with a very severe/rare case of dyslexia...I would recommend her taking him to a neurologist and going through some testing (MRI/CT scan, psych testing,etc) to rule out other things. He will also need occupational therapy and HWT (Handwriting without tears). He is not too young to be diagnosed. Also, he needs to go to an optamologist that specializes in pediatrics and does vision therapy. Those are good places to start and they can guide from there.

HTH!

1 mom found this helpful

This is compeletely normal my 6 yr old still writes some letters and numbers backwards , but a year ago she would write her name and you could flip the paper over and it would be perfectly backwards everyletter and the word written backwards. it takes practice. Now if he's 7 or 8 and still is writign that way then you need to worry about dislexia ( cant spell LOL)Just let him figure it out on his own, if his dominant hand that he reaches for stuff with is his left hand then he is prob left handed. When was a kid I could write with both hands equily well and it just eventually went to my right hand.

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