28 answers

How to Teach a Lefty to Write?

Hi... my name is A. and I have a 3.5 year old son. I'm trying to teach him how to write alphabet lately. I get confused since he's using his left hand to write and it's hard for me to teach him since I use my right hand. Should i teach him from his back or in front of him? I use Kumon workbooks all this time. Any other products that can help me to teach him? And is it normal for him to NOT have a big desire to learn how to write at this age?
Thank you so much and appreciate all the inputs from you all.

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So What Happened?™

Thank you everyone for your inputs. It's easy to put pressure on the little ones... but some of you were right... why the rush at this age... it will come naturally... ;-)
Thanks again for all the inputs. Now at least I know to stand on his back to teach him better. I have to practice my left hand too, so it will be more fun for both of us during the learning process... ;-)

More Answers

A., Just make sure that you turn the paper to the right and not to the left, as a right-handed person will do. I am left handed and had a great 4th grade teacher who was left handed and came over to my desk and turned the paper the opposite way of everyone else's and it makes life so much easier! In a world built for right-handed people, the little things matter most. Good luck!

2 moms found this helpful

I found this while looking to help my 4 year old and kids at school(I teach first grade.) I am sure you could search her name to find the website for you:

QUESTION: (Left-Handed Writing)
My son is left handed and he looks very awkward and uncomfortable when he tries to write. His writing is pretty illegible as well.
Is there anything that I can do to make writing easier for him to master?


Writing from left to right, as we do in English, allows a right handed person to look at his writing as it progresses. A "lefty", however, has difficulty visually monitoring handwriting since his hand covers his writing. Because of this, "Lefties" can develop some bad habits.
These include:

1- A hooked grasp - the wrist bends forward (this positions a child's fingers above his writing and allows him to see what he is writing). This is a very bad position for writing since it does not allow efficient finger control for good letter formation.

2- An "ulnar" grasp - the child holds the pencil between his thumb with all four fingers along the shaft. The pinky finger is closest to the pencil tip. This grasp is undesirable because the pinky must guide pencil movements and the hand is unstable.

Tips For Teaching "Lefties" to Write:

Position the paper on the desk so it is completely left of the child's midline. Never in the writing process should a the left handed child cross over the midline.

Angle the paper so that it lies parallel to the child's forearm. This is likely to be close to a 45 degree angle which is a greater angle than "righties" use. Encourage kids to learn how to position paper themselves. To ensure correct positioning, affix tape to the desk to provide an outline of the position in which a paper should lie.

Lisa Marnell MS, OTR/L

1 mom found this helpful

I am a lefty and I've done a lot of this working with children. I do believe the most important thing is angling the paper correctly. The correct angle of the paper (for a lefty) is found by holding the paper up by the top left corner. As you lay it down on the table, it will be the correct angle to write on. This holds true as well for righties by holding the top right corner. Having the correct angle is especially important for lefties if you don't want them writing "upside down" as they get older. It also makes it easier down the road when having to learn how to slant cursive letters. Workbooks with connect the dots and tracing exercises are great. I don't think there's any need to hold his hand, and I don't think it really matters where you situate yourself around him as long as he sees the letters correctly on the page. Many kids (even righties) write their letters backwards, or mirror image. That I've seen, this usually works itself out by 1st or 2nd grade. I hope that's helpful.

1 mom found this helpful

My instinct would be to not touch the paper or his hand and not to model writing for him. Instead, write letters for him to copy or use highlighters or make dots for him to trace with a pencil. Let him make the physical adjustments that are natural to him and focus on copying/tracing the right shapes. That is how I teach my right-handed daughter (I am also a righty) - I have never held the pencil with her.

And yes, sometimes he won't want to write. Kids focus on one or two things at a time (just like walking or talking). He might be more into gross motor stuff now, or he might be into colors and shapes, or into verbal and music. Let hime do what he wants. He has plenty of time - it's not like he won't learn to write!

One thing I do is encourage my daughter to sign her name on cards, pictures, etc. And I occasionally ask her to sound out a word. Maybe just once a day, but it creates opportunities if they are in the mood.

If he is in preschool, his teacher should be able to advise you. Have fun!

1 mom found this helpful

Hi A.,

There is a web site that might be of help:


Hope this helps. D.

1 mom found this helpful

Check out www.handwritingwithouttears.com

It is a handwriting program used by therapists and in many public school systems. It starts out with kids using their fingers to trace letters in sand, make them out of play dough, etc. Very effective! It was developed by a MD woman. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

Most kids are ambidextrous at this age, although he seems to have a preference. It shouldn't matter if you are in front of or in back of him or sitting side by side, letters are patterns, we see patterns and copy them using whichever hand is most comfortable. It is normal for him to have a short attention span about writing at this age, writing is tedious, especially if you are trying to get him to spell words instead of just practice the letters and the sounds they make. The fine motor control isn't quite there, that's why little kids use big fat pencils. Try markers, fat crayons, different colors of paper, workbooks with lines may be too much right now.

Hi A.! I am left handed and the biggest issue is that we hold our pencils different; it's not really backwards from righties though. If you know anyone who is left handed ask them to show you so you can then show your son. My daughter is right handed so I had a hard time also; I did dotted letters and had her trace it to make lines. That worked better than trying to guide her hand. Hope this helps.

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