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!

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

1 mom found this helpful

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

hey, L.. i have a left-handed 3 yr old who will write backwards or forwards, almost interchangeably. my hubby was concerned enough to look up this website:

http://handedness.org/action/leftwrite.html

hope it helps. i figure i'm not going to worry about it!

1 mom found this helpful

I would teach him to continue to be ambidexterous. He is at a perfect age to begin lessons on a musical instrument. If he becomes very dominant with one hand, it could cause him problems later on when learning to play a musical instrument. I write with my left hand. I do everything else dominately with my right hand except for a few things.
It was not hard learning things as left-handed except for learning how to sweep, crochet, and knit. I had a hard time learning the left hand parts to piano playing because my right hand wanted to dominate there. I played all sports right-handed. I learned lots of stringed instruments and I always learned to play them the right-handed way.
When I was a child, my father put up a new front door to our home with the door knob in the middle of the door. He said he did it because he didn't want to discriminate and it would be just as easy for someone right-handed to open the door as it would be for a left-hander.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi! I am a 1st grade teacher. What your son is doing is completely normal. Getting the letters going the correct way is developmental and he will learn it with time. Even some 7 and 8 year olds still do it. You have nothing to worry about! Just have him keep practicing, that is wonderful!

I have another suggestion: Get some graph paper and have him practice writing in the boxes. Time him and make it a game. This practice should really help him! You could have him practice writing things like his name.

1 mom found this helpful

Totally normal to write letters backwards and keeping bouncing back from using one hand to another at this age. Just relax and don't push the right/left hand issue. That is nature so let it takes it's course. As far as the letters, practice with him with the big lined notebook papaer (handwriting paper found in the office supply isle at Walmart). One page is all a, the next is b, then d, then e so forth (these are the most commonly confused and backwards letters).

Good luck and try not to stress too much either!!
S.

1 mom found this helpful

No need to worry about anything, my four year old did the same thing, if you don't push it he will figure it out on his own. Children are so much more resilient than us adults, they can adjust to just about anything so give him a chance, he is only 4. When we were kids we didn't learn to write until we got to kindergarten and we all turned out ok! :) I know the desire to have him "on track" with the other children but he may just need some more time to figure out which hand is more comfortable. If he is dyslexic, you have shown that you are a very caring and involved mama and will get him the help he needs. As you know this is the key to a successful child! Most people with dyslexia are extremely intelligent! Much luck, don't feel alone, most likely it is just a normal process he is going through to learn to write.

1 mom found this helpful

I don't have advice, but I wanted to say thanks for posting. I've been afraid of the same thing with my four-year old. She will write an entire word backwards - letters and all! It's good to know it's not as worrisome as I thought.

1 mom found this helpful

My friends daughter did this. She ended up being left handed, but did have a teacher trying to force her to use her right. She's in the 2nd grade next year and is improving a lot. My advice is let him use whatever hand he feels most comfortable with and work with him on his writing. Thats what my friend did. This next year (2nd grade) is when they will test her for dyslexia. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

I think it is perfectly normal for a 4 year old to write backwards. My daughter (4 1/2) almost always writes her name backwards, though she will write most other things forwards, but not always. I definitely would not push him or make any big deal. Just let him keep writing--it's all new to him and he's still learning. Letters can look very similar to that age backwards and forwards and they are still figuring it all out. I think it's crazy that we have to worry about a 4 year old being "behind" because they do not write forward (that is a relatively new phenomenon. It used to be that at that age they were worrying about running and exploring outside). Also, I'd let him figure out which hand to use for himself without pushing one above the other. If he can write at 4 years old, backwards or forwards, he's doing great!

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

Hello! I too have a 4 yr old son that writes that way. He IS left handed and his preschool teacher said the same thing. We have purchased a ton of practice writing books and just practice, practice, practice. We also have him writing letters being a "pen pal" with his Aunt that lives in New England. This seems to be helping. Hopefully they will out grow it as they continue to learn :)

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Hi L.,

I was a reading specialist (which means I was trained in writing, too). It is normal for children to reverse letters up to 7 yrs old. He is just learning to that we right left to right so that will come, too. The accepted wisdom about handedness is to let him figure it out on his own, that, in fact, to try to change him from left to right could "mix-up" his brain and effect some of his creativity and other gifts. That being said if he seems to be noticeably off from his peers call your school district and they will do an evaluation for free through the Child Find program. That being said....the best thing you can do for him is to relax. Whatever difficulties he may or may not have you will deal with when the time comes. It is not unusual for a child to need help in one or two areas (both of mine did) and focusing on his strengths rather than his weaknesses will help both of you. Children are a package, they come with a few quirks. Not a problem. Second most important thing is to KEEP READING and WRITING FUN! I can not emphasize this enough. Read to him and make it special time. Literally (no pun intended hee, hee) every day is best (or at least most days) until he won't let you any more. I will read to them when they are in into high school if they will still let me! Thirdly, model reading and writing yourself. These are the most important factors. The rest will come. All children will learn to read and write in their own time (unless there is an unusually severe challenge). Keeping it fun and positive and relaxed are key factors! There is plenty of help for you and your son. Take a deep breath, call Child Find if you need to, and enjoy your little guy and his fascinating and miraculous development. Remember, you have to be his advocate and NUMBER 1 CHEER LEADER! Focus on what he does right, find help where he needs it, and keep every moment of your precious time together as special as you can!

Kudos for your great parenting!

Warmest Regards,

E.

1 mom found this helpful

It's perfectly normal. My daughter wrote that way when she was four, in fact she would write mirror images of the letters, and it freaked me out. She was ambidexterous at the time. Little did I know that her dad was trying to train her to be right-handed! At 13 she's left-handed for everything except throwing and using a bat or golf club. I think she bowls right-handed, too.

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RELAX! I teach preschool and have raised three kids. Almost all kids write backwards-either from right to left or reversing their letters or a combination. I know of several who actually did both-wrote their first and last name from right to left with every letter reversed. Not a big deal at 4 The more pressure you put on him the more frustrated he will become and then you will run yourself right into a pre diagnosis of an LD or dyslexia. (btw-when a person uses both hands to do tasks, its called ambidexterous and is actually a very cool thing)

1 mom found this helpful

My little cousins write backwards and she is 6yrs old. I have to get on to her for writing backward and tell her to erase it and start over. She left handed and she doesnt like for her sister who is also left to try and teach her right but she will not listen to her. So give it a little time and see he if he grows out of it bc he might just right backward until he is a little old. My little cousin father still write some of his letters backward and he is grown.

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Hey L.,
It really is normal for them to do it when they are starting out. As far as figuring out left or right... practice at home. Place the pencil in her left hand and see if she writes with her left or switches into her right hand. I don't know what the procedure is for straightening out the dislexia but you could practice doing patterns while they're this young. Yellow, Red, Yellow, ? OR cat cat dog, cat cat dog, cat ? AB AC AB ? Have fun with it!

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I did this too as a child! I would write my letters from right to left and they were all backwards. Eventually, I grew out of it. But I could still do it later on, which was cool to look at in the mirror! I can just see how things would look reversed in my head. I have always been a very visual learner and my strengths are in the visual-spatial areas - pictures, puzzles, etc. I wouldn't worry too much about your son.

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Hi L.,
My younger son also wrote backwards when we was 4 & 5 years old. Briefly, he was diagnosed with a learning diability in the 6th grade! I am not saying that your son has a learning diability but I would certainly watch him very carefully. I so wish my son had been diagnosed earlier. Junior high and high school were very tough for him but he graduated from high school on time. My husband and I helped him with assignments. He took a couple years off and then decided he wanted to go to college. He graduated from college - took himn 6 years but he has a B.S. degree in geography. He has a very good job which he has had for 8 years. He is now 35 years old. I know education has changed a lot since he was young. If I were you I would ask her who to contact for further testing - maybe your local public school district administration office since they should be open even in the summer. I wish you and your son the best!!
S. N.

1 mom found this helpful

Yes at this age it is perfectly normal. Let him figure out if he is a lefty or a righty. There is a cheap and great curriculum (about $7) that will help him never write things backwards again (doesn't matter if he is left or right) Check it out. http://www.hwtears.com/

K.
homeschool mom of 5

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He is perfectly normal. No need to worry mom. SMILE!

1 mom found this helpful

This is normal! I used to teach Pre-K, and most kids do this when they're learning how to write. You are right to stay on top of it because of the family history, but I wouldn't worry about it at this point. He'll most probably figure it out on his own or with more guidance.

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How about taking your child to writing therapy

I've noticed that my son was doing the same thing as my child so I google and I've asked parents if they have noticed this as well with their children most have yes. I watched a video that talks about it and it says that if your child continues to do this at the age of 7 and beyond they you can begin to feel concern. I work with small children and at the age of 4 they're still trying to figure out what hand to use so I would say don't try to make your child to use one hand only or the other. he will either be left or right handed. I believe that it doesn't really matter which hand kids write with as long as they practice their writing.

My son is going throw the same thing and like you I talk to his preschool teacher was told its ok its normal for his age now he had to stay back in kingranding and getting test for dislexia.I save some of his paper in he did and his spelling is real good so is his hand writing but its all backward,he didn't have to stop to think about what he was putting on paper.If you think that he have dislexia you should push to have him test

Teaching a method of writing is important. Handwriting needs to be taught and orientation of letter need to be taught as well. let his hand dominance be obvious normally by 4 they should have hand dominance. Often illegible handwriting leads to set back in academic acheivement. When I started to investigate I found that this issue needs to be address and sooner the better.

I founded Write to Shine to help children develop those hand muscles and work on mastering Handwriting.

The Write to Shine®program is here to provide Handwriting Tutoring individualized to the child's need based on the highly acclaimed Handwriting Without Tears® program to teach writing readiness, printing, or cursive.

Handwriting workshops and education is available for schools, parents, and community groups in the form of workshops, in-services, or presentations.

S.
Certified Handwriting Specialist
www.writetoshine.weebly.com

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