11 answers

Left Handed Five Year Writes Her Words Backwards


I have three daughters. The youngest is five years old and left handed. She writes all her words in the reverse order e.g. her name is Tristin, she would write nitsirT starting from the right instead of the left of the word. Has anyone ever come across this with their kids and do you know why it is happening?

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

I would look into having her evaluated for dyslexia as she appears to be seeing what you write backwards.

More Answers

Could it be some form of dislexia? Ask your pediatrician, he's a safe bet.

Well, it may be too soon to tell if your daughter has something like dyslexia. Left & right can be difficult concepts for some kids, and learning how to deal with left & right issues just takes some time. Sometimes, left-handed children do start out writing backwards, but then they overcome it. See if your pediatrician or your daughter's school can refer you to a specialist who can evaluate her for dyslexia. There are lots of things parents can do to help children overcome this kind of learning difference, if she has it. Often children with dyslexia are super intelligent and just need to learn how to trick their brains into writing in the right direction. Starting out early in this process, if you need to, before school becomes frustrating for both of you, is a good idea. ( : But get an expert opinion before you start to worry.

is she in kindergarten? or starting in the fall? does she write the letters correctly but just starts from the right side of the page? I teach kinder and that is fairly common. a little trick i do sometimes is to put a green dot on the top left part of the line they are writing on and a red dot at the right. I tell them that we always start on the left (green for go) and stop on the right. Also, positioning the page correctly for lefties is very important to to encourage her to begin furthest away from her.the bottom right corner of the page should be angled (slightly) towards her tummy so she will start away from her and bring the words down towards her.
if she starts kinder in the fall (or even first) wait a couple weeks for her to get settled and then approach the teacher with your concerns. If she thinks there is a problem as well then you can go from there. but in the meantime, don't stress too much and model for her the correct way to write.

i hope that helps!


I would look into having her evaluated for dyslexia as she appears to be seeing what you write backwards.

Hi D.,

As a former K and 1st grade teacher, this is not uncommon for a child that age. Do show her the right way to do it and trace her name with her. Usually is a child is dyslexic only some of the letters are backward. i assume she is in K now and her teacher is aware and working with her on this.


Follow your instinct of concern, just in case. The school district will evaluate her for free to make sure she isn't have problems with dsylexia. Just call your local school district. Call the Early Learning Coalition as well their number is ###-###-####. Don't worry, the evaluations are usually a lot of fun, they are free, and they can help you breath easy. If they find a problem they provide 'free' (federal govt pays for it) help and guidance for you. The sooner you have her evaluated the better, catching something like this early can make all the difference!

Here are some other numbers to call. Since it is summer and govt offices you are calling you will probably have to be pretty presistent.

In Brevard: Child Find at ###-###-#### ext. 552
In Volusia, contact Patty Naquin, FDLRS Child Find Specialist at ###-###-#### ext. 52871 or
Claudia Hahl, FDLRS Child Find Specialist at ###-###-#### ext. 52868

Take it one day at a time!

I don't have any great advice... but I also at 5 years old and left handed wrote my letters in reverse order. But back then ( 25 years ago )they held me back from going to first grade.
She will get past it with some time... and maybe with special attention from a teacher and lots of practice.

All the best to you and your girls.

Hi D.,
I wouldnt worry to much it is very common with many children. Our son does that but I bought this program called Handwriting w/out tears and this program is a great program. Its helped our son alot, check it out, Good Luck and dont worry:)

D.- I am an educator- and have worked with kids who learn like your daughter. There are a number of things you can do with her to help with her writing. My concern is about her knowing where she is in space--ie left right confusion- and where she focuses her eyes.
As a starting point make sure you have her assessed by a vision specialist who understands children learning. We assume that Pediatricians are checking our children's eyes and vision- and just because a child can see or read an eye chart does NOT mean that their vision is o.k. She has what sounds like a visual-motor integration problem--fancy name but not a big deal to correct--just don't think she will "outgrow it".

Play "patty-cake" with her- crossing your hands across the middle of your body- and make her watch where her hands are going. You can also put a star or mark on the paper where she is to begin writing-- but these are only quick fixes to what might be other things that need to addressed.

You are welcome to contact me directly- and I will be happy to try to help you in any way that I can.

You are NOT alone--and please do not try to make your daughter change hands-- she needs a positive approach to learning- with a more hands-on approach.
Good luck
M. Halpert,M.Ed
3D Learner, Inc.
tel ###-###-####

reversing in all ways shapes & forms is pretty common when they are small. try to calmly correct her, or try to think of some 'cute' way for her to remember to go from left to right- but if she were at school, the school counselor, etc, wouldn't be 'able' to do anything about it per se because of the 'young' age...unfortunately some things that really grabs our attention as parents, doesn't set of the same alarms for school personnel...it depends on age/developmental stage

Hi D.,

I was a Reading Recovery teacher for several years.

Every child makes up their own learning theory. For example, your daughter might have come to the conclusion that since all the right-handed kids write from left to right, then, changing directions is the only way a "lefty" should write.

I recommend that you sit with your daughter while she´s writing and instead of discouraging her, try to understand why she´s doing it. Ask her as many questions as you can to discover her "theory" of writing. You´ll be surprised to hear her answers. They all have some interesting explanation for doing things the way they do them and you will be thrilled to see how creative your daughter is. Just sit next to her for as many sessions as it takes and be patient with her until she finds a way to explain her "style" and then praise her for figuring out a way to learn to write.

After that, grab one her "favorite books" and see if she can locate a word (one that she has a tendency to write backwards) one of those words that you know she knows. Ask her to show you the word and to see the difference between the way she writes and the way its written in the book. She will. Then tell her that she is very creative and you are happy she figured out a way to write. Show her the way it´s done and ask her if she can imitate you. Never make her feel bad about it and do not compare her with anybody. Praise, praise, praise.

Good luck

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