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Sloppy Handwriting for Left-Handed Child

This probably seems a little silly and I'm asking other moms on behalf of my niece who has an almost 5 year old boy, Connor. Connor is left-handed and attends a day care but they do not have pre-K classes. However, they are working with the children in learning the alphabet. Connor has quite a bit of trouble writing his letters and my niece knows of several "lefties" who have terrible handwriting and wondered if that was the "norm" for lefties? We're not trying to offend any lefties, by the way. I'm sure once he gets to kindergarten in the Fall and his family keeps working with him, he will improve. Any thoughts or ideas? Thank you.

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Thank you so much for all of the great responses (35 at this point!) This is such a great resource for the little (and big) things that affect all of our lives. Keep up the GREAT work you wonderful Moms (and anyone else who might be responding that I don't want to leave out!)

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I was also going to recommend Handwriting without Tears. www.hwtears.com You can go to their website, and look at all they have to offer. My kids are really enjoying it, and so am I (teaching it!) HTH!

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I am left handed and so was my son, until he overcompensated and forced himself to be a righty! Believe me, I tried my hardest to keep him a lefty. I think it's hard because they try to hold their hand and pencil like a righty does and lefties are just not made to write like that. I think most lefties end up with messy handwriting simply because they are trying to fit in and write like the others. Is there another adult lefty in the family that can show him the proper way to hold his pencil and confirm to him that it's ok to write differently? Just a suggestion!

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I am at 35 year old lefty who grew up doing EVERYTHING right-handed except writing. AND if my father had it his way, I would write with my right hand too! I have mediocre handwriting because much of the time I should have spent mastering my left handed penmanship, I spent practicing with my right (Dad insisted)instead. Needless to say I am now an out of the closet lefty with a lousy sense of direction. I do find that slanting my paper to nearly vertical really helps the penmanship!

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Have her check out the Zaner Bloser website. Everything a lefty does is in reverse to a righty (not to mention they must hold the pen higher so they can see the letters they are forming). ZB has explanations for proper form for a lefty.

Now is a good time to have him practice in order to avoid poor form later (especially the "hook" which is not necessary for a lefty though many do it).

BTW, my son is a lefty, and with this same info, he is doing very well.

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You might want to look for an occupational therapist on-line or through the special education department in your school district. These therapists specialize in fine-motor skills and can suggest a handwriting program for you. If you'd like information re. the OT I know and helped me out, please e-mail me at ____@____.com.

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Hi there A.,

No offense; but it seems as though the day care center really should have a dedicated pre-k class. Yes, handwriting is something that kids will work on in Kindergarten and his handwriting will improve; but why not start now? I'm a childcare providedr of pre-k age children (3-5 yrs). We just started to use a curriculum called Handwriting Without Tears (www.hwtears.com) and absolutely LOVE it! There are workshop training sessions all the time throughout the US. I attended one; but I don't feel that it's really necessary. I have the teacher book; which is very informative and walks you through it step by step. I've also purchased the CD and workbook for the kids. The songs are so cute and catchy that my 3.5 yr old sings them randomly. I strongly recommend using this for any child.

Best of luck!

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I think sometimes we tend to make excuses and allow the bad hanwriting because they are "lefties," but I was just as demanding of my leftie daughter as I was of my right-handed daughter. Now is the time to work with him, before bad habits set in.

I consistently asked my daughter not to move the paper, and to write neatly or she would have to redo it. I always told both daughters to take pride of their school work and sloppines was not allowed - in a good, constructive way. I'm happy to tell you that all that hard work (by my dauthter) has paid off. Her 4th grade teacher says she has one of the best handwritings in the class - and my dauhghter is so proud of that.

So, my suggestion to you is to have patience, this may take some time - even years. Start working on neatness, posture, paper and pencil placement - the standards must be the same as right-handed people. It can be frustrating sometimes, but the rewards go beyond the handwriting -

Good luck!

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As a lefty that struggled with handwriting I would suggest the following. Make sure the paper is slanted the opposite of how a right handed person would have it.. For those that don't know if a left handed person writes with the paper in the proper slant they can see what they are writing just the same as right handed person. The reason you see the "curled" hand of alot of left handed persons is because this person was forced to write with the same slant and paper position as a right handed person, so in order to succeed and "pass" with the social standards of what I hope is time gone by a person was forced to write in an unnatural position usually resulting in bad handwriting,frustration, embarrasment of constant critizism in class. My mother went thru this in the 40's-50's and her parents had to fight with the teachers to stop the "curl". She had to fight it with my teachers in the 60's and 70's. When they finally left me alone and I did it like she showed me there was a world of difference. I still have a variable slant depending on how long I write. My SIL was having trouble with her son in elementry school with handwriting and getting bad marks in penmenship and one night I happened to be there when he was doing homework, guess what... his paper was slanted the wrong way... Changed that, she pointed it out to the teacher, she left him alone and even tried to remind him to slant his the other way and by the end of the year there was a dramatic improvement and he was alot happier. So the lesson here don't assume your childs teacher knows the proper way for a left handed person to write, many are taught by righties and are righties themselves and just don't know any better. Will this produce beautiful handwriting no....that is individual to each person but it will produce a happier child more willing to learn to write. Encourage your children to try everything with the hand that it comes naturally to. I do most things left handed (even bowling,crochet) and do just fine but I function perfectily well in the right handed world (ten key by touch, computer mouse etc.) We are who we are and to try and change that to make us more "normal" isn't right...... If you continue to have trouble find another lefty that writes normally to help show the left way of the writing world. I am sure they would be willing to help. My best to all of you, I wish you great luck.

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I am right handed but this is what my mom did with me when i started school to improve my handwriting.

she had me sit down and work on my handwrighting everyday at home before dinner for about half an hour. i can tell you know I have beautiful hand writing!

Practice makes perfect!

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I was also going to recommend Handwriting without Tears. www.hwtears.com You can go to their website, and look at all they have to offer. My kids are really enjoying it, and so am I (teaching it!) HTH!

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Your question is far from silly. Left-handed children need special attention in learning to write. When you say "they are working" that's the important part. Who are "they"? Many teachers are not equipped to help build a left-handed child's self esteem while teaching them a method for lefties to write well and avoid the "lefty hook". I suggest you go to the school and make sure "they" have a good writing method for the lefty child. I am a lefty also and have spent years researching side dominance. I also wrote a short manual on left-handedness titled, "Left-Handed But Not Left Behind, A Positive Approach for the Left-handed Student". Feel free to look at my website. www.lefthandedinfo.com

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I would not worry too much about it at this stage. My son was the same way, but his really didn't improve. I have a friend who works with mhmr and I asked her at what age should they write better and begin to turn their letters and numbers the right way. She said at about the age of 8. My son did not do any better at that age either, and would struggle very hard to write. I took him and had him tested at a Dyslexia center even though thier was no problem with his reading. They said he has dysgraphia which is a form of dyslexia that effects handwritting. They told me it would never improve most likely and he should learn to type. So that is what we are working on now. They also said most Doctors write messy for similar reasons and that these children are HIGHLY intellegent. They said that the head doctor of the center has it so badly that he has to record all his instructions for the other doctors on a voice recorder! My son is right handed, but his father is left handed. I hope this helps!

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I am left handed and so was my son, until he overcompensated and forced himself to be a righty! Believe me, I tried my hardest to keep him a lefty. I think it's hard because they try to hold their hand and pencil like a righty does and lefties are just not made to write like that. I think most lefties end up with messy handwriting simply because they are trying to fit in and write like the others. Is there another adult lefty in the family that can show him the proper way to hold his pencil and confirm to him that it's ok to write differently? Just a suggestion!

1 mom found this helpful

Handwriting without Tears is a great place to start. You may also want to check out dysgraphia and dyslexia. A very high percentage of dyslexic people are left handed (50%)... they are often found to go hand in hand... I am not saying he has it but it would be worth checking out this website...http://www.bartonreading.com/sbarton.html
it has warning signs that might be helpful.

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As a recent middle school teacher, let me say that handwriting is critical so I am glad you are looking into this now! I had so many kids who couldn't take good notes because they couldn't write fast enough or they couldn't write legibly.

As for lefties having poor handwriting, no offense taken, but both my husband and I are left-handed and we have good handwriting. These days most pens and pencils are smudge-free so it isn't as big a deal for left-handers.

It sounds that you are indeed a wonderful, caring Aunt! Be thankful that now, rather than the late 50's early 60's, there are terrific teachers that are educated in assisting "lefties"! My kids Dad, (the kids are in their 30's, and I am a grammy of 5!), is a leftie, and when he began school way back when, he was cursed with a teacher that used a ruler and smacked his hand/knuckles when he used his left hand! That is now called extreme abuse, thank the Lord for that! He struggled and barely graduated, but he did, but with scars of memories better left unsaid!
Today, we have five grandchildren from 2 to 15, three of which are lefties, and quite normal! The teachers they have had from day one have patiently worked with them and they have learned to control and have beautiful handwriting skills!
I did not write this to scare you, just to make a comparison, and ease your mind that the educaters of today, at least most of them, are great when working with left handed children!
I pray and wish for you the best!
Keep on loving as you do,
God bless,

You had many great responses. I agree with Angelica about the paper slant. Right handed children are taught to slant their paper to the left. Left handed children often slant their paper to the left as well, because the classroom is predominantly right handed. Have the left hand child slant his/her paper to the right! Make sure the pencil grasp is between the forefinger and the middle finger with the thumb.

My brother is a leftie (and my mom is a product of the Catholic School forced to change from left to right student).

There is a place I used to buy notebooks for my brother called Left Hand World. They used to be on Pier 39 in SFO, but I don't know if they are there anymore. Look them up on the web. It's good to have options for notebooks for lefties when they get into the upper grades (spirals are on the right!)


I'm a 57 year old mother of 3 girls, 24, 20 and 11 and have always been a lefty (in my right mind :O)

I actually write left handed with my hand almost straight up so I don't have problems with smearing anything I've written. I have very neat handwriting as well. I think once he starts school you will find that he will develop his own handwriting with no problems. I do many things both left and right but only write left.

I am left handed. It is a lot different writing with the left hand and going towards the right of a piece of paper than it is writing with the right hand and going to the right of a piece of paper.(try it and you will see what I mean. We lefties even have to hold the pensil different than righties) I curl my left hand down in order to write on a line and go to the right of the paper. If I keep my left hand pointing towards the top of the paper, my letters slant quite a bit to the left. (They used to call this writing back-handed.) I had trouble writing when I was a child; probably because I had to learn to adapt from someone right handed. I hope this helps. This is my left-handed view on the subject. My handwriting is now beautiful; just took time. On the plus side, left handed people are usually creative and artistic. Don't worry too much.
P. M

hi there! i am left handed, as well as my mother. my mo has beautiful handwriting, but i am the other hand (no pun intended) have horrible. hand writing. i always thought that i was the only one until i moved to a different town for colelge, there i found out through new friends that i'm not the only one. the side of the hand drags across the page, smudgeing (sp?) every word. it takes a little more work then not teachers are willing to put in, but i learned how to not smudge my work. i hope this helps.

I substitute teach and one thing we do to help some children is to write the letters with a highlighter and have the children follow the highlighted areas and then keep going.

It is a lot of practice and repetition. You might do some of this over the summer. I have noticed when I am working with a student and a highlighter, the other children want to do it. It is kindof like a game.

GOod luck.

I know you got a lot of responses to your question, but i wanted to give you my two cents.
My husband and i are both lefties plus my father. My dad has really neat handwriting, mine is ok and my husbands is really messy. I think it all depends on the person. I personally love being a lefty and i am hoping that my son (16 months) will be. Also, I find that slanting the paper and writing with thicker pens and pencils make it easier and neater. I would also suggest that when the time comes and your great nephew needs spiral notebooks to get ones that are made for lefties. As a child that was one of my biggest frustrations when i was trying to write and the spirals were in my way. Hope this helps.

My DD is a lefty (she is 5) and I struggled to help her with her writing until I finally realized I can sit NEXT to her - on her left - and then go hand over hand. Maybe everyone else already figured it out long ago, but it was a huge DUH moment for me that has really helped. Practicing over "prewritten" or highlighted letters has helped a lot too. I personally know lots of lefties and I always thought they seemed a bit smarter than the average person (myself included)! :-)

Hi A.,

I just happened to see this post in one of Mamasource's general emails. Tell your sister (or is it sister-in-law?) to look at the following link:


Handwriting Without Tears by Jan Olsen is a fabulous way to teach handwriting. Our school system in Blue Bell, PA used it, and believe it or not, the international school my children currently attend in Tokyo, Japan also uses it (they teach American curriculum). But mostly I want you to know that my own son, who is now 13 years old, spent 2 years using this program while he was in handwriting therapy the year before he started kindergarten and all through kindergarten. He was diagnosed by his neurologist as having a weakness in his writing hand while we were working with an OT on sensory issues, and I happened to see an ad in a children's magazine (one of the freebies you find in your area) for an OT who specialized in handwriting. She taught small group classes that used the Handwriting Without Tears method. My son loved this class, all through the two years. It strengthened his hand, taught him how to write his letters, gave him confidence in himself, and made a HUGE difference in his Kindergarten/First grade experience. I don't know where he would be without it. Plus, he writes correctly, A.. The correct way of writing is so much easier than ways that children sometimes "invent" because they haven't had enough instruction. Nowadays school is so hectic, with No Child Left Behind goals to make, that the teachers barely have time to teach good handwriting skills.

I even let my older son take a 6 week session to learn cursive writing when he was in 3rd grade - he begged me because he knew his brother was having a good time, and he wanted to have help learning the new way of writing too.

If she could find someone who teaches this class, it would be great, or she could order the materials on her own to work with her child on her own. I can't recommend this highly enough to help get her child school ready.

All my best,


My son is a lefty and has messy handwriting. He would form letters in different sizes, could not write on unlined paper, would not space properly. His teacher suggested that we have him tested for dysgraphia. We got an OT evaluation and he does have dysgraphia (a form of dyslexia). The big clue was that he reads on a high grade level (like 2 years above actual) but his writing did not match up. (often these are along the same level). Anyway, we have been doing OT for 6 months. It's expensive but worth it. While his handwriting is still not neat, it is readable! It is treatable.

You have received a lot of comments but I would have to agree with the people who responded that when Connor gets into school, he's going to develop his own style for better or worse. I am at 38 year old left handed individual who grew up doing EVERYTHING right-handed except writing, and not to toot my own horn or anything but I have great handwriting. My husband on the other hand who makes his living in the field of science and mathematics writes like a 1st grader! So I honestly believe it will work itself out once he gets going. It's not a handicap, it's a way of doing something that isn't in the majority. No big deal. I think to make a big deal out of it is going to make the child feel like there's something wrong with them. What if it was the side he batted a baseball with or held a hockey stick? Would they require special classes and such? Kids adapt quickly to their environment and I think either way he'll do fine.
Just my opinion.

Most righties are 'sloppy' at this age. Kids this young rarely have the fine motor skills down for 'neat' handwriting. Don't make a big deal of it. As a former teacher, I'll guess that his day care people aren't experienced in teaching handwriting, & have no idea how to deal with a leftie. IN KG, he should have a teacher (early childhood education specialist) skilled in helping him learn to write. Manuscript, like any other skill, gets better with time & practice, so do not be impatient. Just praise his best (when it is his best). DO encourage him to write ~ he's not too young to write simple thank you notes to grandparents, etc. He'll be proud of himself to write a 'real' letter. (This worked for my kids.) You can write the name/address on a label, then let him stick on the address & stamp, & seal the envelope. ALL kids should learn to do this when young ~ the computer age has severely decreased truly personal communication...

I am at 35 year old lefty who grew up doing EVERYTHING right-handed except writing. AND if my father had it his way, I would write with my right hand too! I have mediocre handwriting because much of the time I should have spent mastering my left handed penmanship, I spent practicing with my right (Dad insisted)instead. Needless to say I am now an out of the closet lefty with a lousy sense of direction. I do find that slanting my paper to nearly vertical really helps the penmanship!

I am left handed, and I have to say that most comments and replies made me quite mad.
There are comments like "they are normal", "turned out ok" etc in regards to "lefties" as if we are different species.
If you don't specify it as being "different", the child will never feel "different", and will learn how to write just like everyone does.
Whether it turns out sloppy or not has nothing to do with with being right handed or left handed, and I cannot understand people that think that there would be a connection.
As far as not seeing what you are writing when you are a lefty, or not being able to write on a line - pure and simple: Lift your hand up every now and then and check it! No need to twist your hand into any acrobatic moves!


As a lefty, I had very sloppy handwriting as a child. The teachers were not adept back then (in the early 80s) to adjust the writing style for a lefty. There are different ways we angle the paper and hold the pencil to make it easier. I remember the teachers always making us hold our pencils and papers the same way and then griping at me for being "messy." It was not a pleasant experience in my memory. I still hold my pen the "wrong way", yet I taught first grade so my handwriting is quite nice now. My hardest struggle even is an adult is that as you write, your hand covers what you've just written so writing in a straight line can be difficult. Because of my experience as a child, I would never get on to a kid for resting their pencil on the second or third finger or what angle the paper is at. As long as it's legible and the letters are correct, that's good enough for me. Plus, being a 4 year old boy, lefty or righty, their handwriting isn't that good, so no need to panic yet.

I LOVE that there may be other lefties with handwriting issues. My son is almost 7 in the first grade. His handwriting is very jumbled. Before I chalked it up to boys/men usualy write more sloppy than girls/women or he's still young. But I knew a lefthanded boy who's handwriting made ME jealous. very pretty!

I don't pressure him at all about his penmanship but as I watch him do his homework I can't help but think yuck, lol. Sometiems I have him erase things and make it look 'neater'. I'll try the paper slant and working on fine motor skills.


HI... I worked with children in school for years. I am a leftie! Other than the usual hand going 'over' the writing and sometimes smearing........ Lefties are AWESOME! My daughter-in-law, and grandson are both lefties, too* Handwriting is determined also by genetics... ever notice how much siblings write alike?.... at his age... he probably isn't very interested in taking any time to be nice and neat!!!!
He'll be just fine. Some of my most beautiful writers were lefties!

I agree with Carrie, it was hard for teachers to teach us. I am probably older than either of you and had a teacher try to change me to being right-handed. I know there have been changes. I've seen sloppy lefties and neat lefties. I had a boss once who had the most beautiful handwriting I've ever seen and he was a leftie. It's great you care but he's young and once he gets into kindergarten and especially if he takes a big interest in his writing it will change.

Make a game of it so it's a fun thing.

Hope this helps. L.

Someone else last week had a leftie question, you should maybe check it out. Anyway I'm a leftie, my daughter and niece. Those two have never been messy. I was though and you just learn to get around it. I must say though when I was learning cursive we had to do it with those cartilege pens, I would get it smeared if I didn't raise may hand of the paper. I now have beautiful handwriting so everyone says. I will also say this, I don't see things like some lefties. Teaching my daughter and niece I realized they were watching the hand as an instrument but I would watch how the teacher was putting it on the board so that seemed to help me not try to imitate the teacher and feel like I'm writing backwards. I don't know if that makes since or not. I also am right handed on some things so later when I hurt my left hand I was forced to write with my right hand and I noticed it help my thinking skills.

As a leftie, I can say that not all have sloppy handwriting. But I do remember how hard it was for teachers or others to help me learn to write, cut, etc. (it wasn't as easy for them to put their hand over mine to guide me...and none were fellow lefties) I think it just takes extra time since they don't get the same one-on-one help.

I know this is a little late but I am left handed and 3 out of 4 of my children are also. 2 of the 3 have beautiful, legible handwriting and have since they started writing. They are in 4th and 5th grade. The 3rd one who is also in 4th grade (twins) is just now starting to write smaller and more legible. It takes time. I dont think being right or left handed makes a difference in neatness.

I would recommend going to your nearest public school. Call the special education department and ask for the number of the speech therapist. They will test Connor's hearing and sight first. Then, the speech therapist will call you for an appt and testing. It is free and it may be possible to get him into pre-K through speech. My son is left-handed and I'm going this route. He was four in March.

Dear A.,
My 13 yr old daughter is a leftie and so is her aunt, and yes, I'm sad to say, they both have really terrible handwriting. My daughter draws beautifully, but her handwriting is something altogether different. She even jokes about it, it doesn't bother her a bit. Hope this helped! ~T.


I know you've already had a lot of responses. Something that I did not see, that we are enjoying with our little (lefty?) are the Kumon workbooks. I don't remember where we bought them (maybe Half-Price books, Target, or Barnes & Noble?). My daughter is 3 1/2 and enjoys tracing the paths/mazes which build up her fine motor and letter-writing skills. I imagine it is more exciting than tracing letters themselves.

Just my 2 cents.

Thanks for the link for handwriting help. Regretfully my son is just finishing up the ninth grade and the program doesn't go that far.

I am a lefty and so is my 15 year old son. His handwriting leaves alot to be desired. I have tried to get the school to help him since the fourth grade to no avail. He still has trouble spacing his words and cursif (sp) is out of the question.

Good luck,

Hi. I just wanted to put my two cents in though you have received some amazing responses.

My daughter is left handed and had terrible handwriting. We did not do pre-school but she did go to Mother's Day Out. The handwriting they used did not work for our daughter. It's not because she's left handed, just because it was difficult for her.

I too went with Handwriting without tears at home and she grew by leaps and bounds. One of the things they will tell you is that not all kids are ready to write at the same time.I started my daughter with upper case letters only and she did not even attempt lower case until just before Kindergarten. Even in kinder, at age six, she had trouble making a triangle.

It's not a big deal. Find a teacher that understands this and you will be fine. The other thing you might check on is speech. My daughter was in speech therapy for 3 years. Although it's not common, it's not uncommon for those with a speech problem (and they don't have to have anything else, just speech like my daughter) to have difficulties with handwriting. All other fine motor could be fine, just handwriting making it difficult. And the gray dotted line tracing letters are the worst for someone with a handwriting problem.

Good luck. I'm sure he'll be fine.

Give the child time to develop fine motor skills. My daughter is 39, a family practice physician and has the most legible left handed writing. Give him a chance to mature. Her father is also left handed and has very nice hand writing.

My daughter is in Kindergarten and is a leftie. Her handwriting was not the best when she first started kindergarten but it has improved a lot. I did work with her over the summer and her preschool teacher worked with her too but she still had trouble doing letters. When she got to Kindergarten I made sure I told her teacher that she is left handed. Now that school is almost over her handwriting has improved and I can read what she writes. I think if he knows how to write his name he should be fine because they all learn at their own pace and things will work out fine as the school year progress.

I am a leftie, and 2 of my 3 boys are, a majority in my famliy! I had trouble growing up with teachers also. both my lefties have sorta sloppy but readable handwriting. I agree with those who have suggested writing over highlighted letters, and lots of practice. my kids used to write "books" on hot summer afternoons, and this helped alot, pictures and all. think of a story line, and staple the pages together. they are a great keepsake.

I think sometimes it gets better with age. i am a leftie with a terible handwritting. It use to botter me but, I finally decided God creatated me diferrent. There's not a whole lot of lefties but, there is enough to know that we are special................ Just keep working with him d!! It didn't work with me but, there is so many other lefties that have very nice handwritting...

Dear A.,
My son too is a left hander and his handwriting is messy. He can write nicer, but it is an extra effort, that he is not always willing to take. Because of that I encouraged him to type more. Any assignment that he had to do at home I would have him type it. This year he had to do a 200 page journal, not all text, but still a lot of typing. His typing speed greatly improved... He now prefers to type than to use his nice handwriting. I thought that it is important that the teachers can read his work and are not influenced too much by the messy appearance.
Walddorf school greatly believe that teaching children to knit will help with the necessary fine motor skills, especially if he gets thought the continental way of knitting (which is easier for left handers). Two years ago as a second attempt I thought my son to knit and I did see some improvement in his handwriting. Also messy handwriting very often comes along with a messy appearance of the paper and this is especially fatal with Math. Have him use graph paper early on in Math, which they do in Europe. This helps with lining up the numbers and in adding and subtracting.

To this day my hand writing could be better, as a lefty. But seriously there is so much out there that can help him improve, I wouldn't worry about it. Good luck, Jen

I have a 28 yr. old twin boys (men). The right handed
twin had wonderful penmenship. The lefty's is hard to
read still. If he takes time, it is ok, but I would
recommend devoting some time to this now until getting
through cursive writting, and then letting it go.
Like everything, there is window of opportunity, and then
it slams shut. It is of very little importance when
you have sights on the grand scheme of things. Of course,
I have hindsight on this issue that really bothered me at
one time. Character issues are much greater significance.

As the mother of a south paw I have experienced the exact opposite. My oldest daughter is right handed and she tends to have messy handwriting. However, if she takes the time she is capable of beautiful handwriting. My youngest daughter is left handed and writes very neatly. She loves to write. My advice is don't worry so much about how well he writes for now. He's just learning and it can take some time for any child to get better whether they are left or right handed. Boys sometimes seem to take longer to show an interest in writing neatly.

One of my twin girls is a lefty. Her handwriting isn't really any better or worse than her sister (they are Kindergarten). Both write well for their age. One thing that I think helped both my girls is a pencil grip that helps them to put their fingers in the right position. The same pencil grip works for right or left handed. It is rubber and slides onto the pencil. It usually comes in a 2 or 3 pack for less than $2. We bought them at Mardels. Hope that helps!

I am a lefty, and I don't think that has anything to do with having trouble writing.Nor have I ever heard of others having trouble. The only thing I had a hard time with is trying to teach my children to tie their shoes. Conner will learn just like everyone else. He may just not be in to it right now. When he is five, pre-school might be a good idea. I found it helped a lot in preparing mine for kindergarten.

Hi A.,
How very sweet of you to be concerned for your great-nephew. I am the mom of a 14-year-old Leftie and his handwriting is wonderful! :) My father is also a leftie and he gave me the best advice when it was time for my soon to start school - which was to buy him practice writing/tracing tables and let him "scribble" until his heart is content. Don't be too focused right now on letter formation because lefties will have to learn their own way of positioning their hand with the paper. My dad literally turns his documents upside down to write!!! :) My son has very neat penmanship - although it didn't start out that way, I praised him when he would write and I would overwhelmingly compliment him on his handwriting and that fact that he was unique for being a leftie. He still takes pride in that.
I hope this helps - good luck to you all.

Hi My name is N. I have a eight yr old daughter who left handed. With a lot of practice she has gotting better but still sloppy. And she is in secong grade

My two eldest children are left-handed. My 16 year old daughter has the most terrible handwriting ever. I swear she should become a doctor because she has the writing down already. Having said that, she is an honor student, and in all ways a very successful young lady. My 9 year old son is so sloppy in his life, but has nice handwriting! We have always encouraged our kids to write at home, and never tried to make them use their right hands. I think kids are just individuals, no matter what hand they write with. You can buy pens and pencils with special grips for lefties, and it seems to prevent their hands sliding across what they've written, so it won't smudge. Good luck!

Hi A., my husband is a lefty and has the most beautiful handwriting, he does all of our letters and Christmas Cards. It looks much better than my righty stuff. I would say that it probably wasn't as neat when he was 5 but it all gets better over time. We have 3 grand kids that are lefty's as well, one is neat, the other 2 leave some to be desired. I think the important thing is to let them write on the paper how it is comfortable to them, I know that some teachers like them to hold the pen a certian way or have the paper at a certain slant that may be uncomfortable for them. Good Luck!

I have a 5 yr old in kindergarten and last year he was in pre-k. With alot of practice it gets better. Not perfect but better his main problem is writing them the wrong way which gets him upset when he makes a mistake. BUT overall his teacher and I can read what he is writing.

Hi, My daughter now 7 is a lefty, and she has always had really nice writing. She has been teaching herself to write in cursive too. I can remember when she first started writing and all I told her was not to let her fist rub over the letters she had written or it would smear or smudge. No one else in our family is a lefty. She loves to play school with her white board easel and is always careful not to erase or smudge the words she's written so takes extra precaution and writes nice and neat. I never see her turn the paper like a lot of lefties...so I think it just really depends on the individual. Now my son, 14 has always written awful, and refused to write in cursive and you can barely read his printing. Thank goodness alot of their work can be done on computers now a days. I think girls are just more concerned about overall neatness than boys. Maybe your nephew will be a doctor..that's what they say about bad handwriters...lol

I'm left handed and have never been told that I have bad handwriting. My husband, on the other hand (literally), is right handed and his handwriting is terrible. I'm the only lefty out of 5 children so it doesn't have anything to do with not being taught by other lefties either. I think it has to do with #1 your child is just that, a child, and just learning to write and #2 some people are into the details such as nice printing and some don't want to waste the time it takes to make it legible. I'm also a nurse and I have encountered the doctor handwriting problem many times. They just don't have the time. :)

My son is a "leftie" and he has beautiful handwriting. I spoke to a left-handed teacher to learn how to teach him to write. The teacher's advice is to remember that he is a mirror image of you. Do not sit next to him, but across from him and he will learn how to write beautifully!!! Good luck and I hope our experience helps. My son is 17 and going to graduate high school!!!

Boys always tend to have sloppier hand writing. I still can't read my 11 year old boys hand writing sometimes. He is a lefty but it doesn't have anything to do with that. I am also a lefty and my handwriting is just fine. He may also get in a hurry. It probably is harder on him if a right handed person is trying to teach him. Luckily I am left handed so it was pretty easy to teach my son.

That is not the norm. It just depends on how much they are worked with. She should get pointers from an adult leftie. Some people say to slant the paper, for me, it was easier to keep the paper straight. Everyone learns different, try different things, but one thing at a time should be introduced. My teachers would always try to make me turn my paper because I am left handed. But I didn't learn that way, so I couldn't stay on a line. I kept the paper straight and turned my body slightly to the left in the chair. That is easier to me. Also, lefties tend to be the artistic ones. Everyone I work with has me write things for them when they need something neat. Then they are all shocked when they realize I am left handed. The most difficult part is for a leftie and a rightie to learn from each other because of the opposite actions needed. Learning to right was easy, learning to teach my right handed son to tie a shoe was much harder.

My son now 23 1/2 is a lefty. His handwriting is clear he doesn't do a lot of cursive though, he said its better reading if he prints and he does that real well. When he was small to teach him the left way I set him across the table. When I enrolled him in public school the first question I asked was 'will his left handedness be a problem?' Because if it had been we would have had a definate problem.
I remembered when my younger sister was little my one aunt was visiting and kept trying to force her to eat with her right hand, every time aunt would turn her back sister would change hands and eat as quickly as she could, she was only about 3. I still chuckle at that. She is still left handed. sweeps right does some things righty but is left handed. When I told her my son was a lelfty, she asked if I had a problem with that I told her no. He would stay a lefty. She said always remember and tell him when he is older that only left handed people are in their right minds. ha ha She was happy because of 7 nieces and nephews on her side of family there was one like her, left handed.
I find in my son because he is left handed he is real good in math and english altho he doesn't think so.
Lefty's have a distinct hand writing for sure. When my son was little he would point out all the left handed people he saw and realized he wasn't alone and not that much different just because he held the pencil and paper different. We had a friend when my son was about 8 years old who told him the reason why is paper looked messy was because of the pencil marks get smeared when you have to have your hand run across it when you write, he was lefty too. He encouraged my son to keep going because when you use a pen it doesn't smear as bad. And he's right. So be encouraged and encourage your lefty it will get better and so will they.

Not only is it hard to teach to a lefty, it's hard for a lefty to learn. Unless they have a left-handed teacher. They have to see how it's done right-handed and figure out how to do the opposite. My handwriting in 1st grade was TERRIBLE. If you know someone who writes left-handed, perhaps they can help. Otherwise, practice and a little bit of experiment to see what is comfortable and easiest is the best way to figure it out.
I would not suggest my route of learning. I fell off my grandmother's porch while in first grade and broke my left arm. I had to relearn how to do everything right-handed. When the cast came off, some things (like eating) went back to lefty. But for writing, I was more comfortable writing with my right. When I learned new things, like sports, I had to figure out which hand to use first.

I see that you've received some great responses, so here is another one (response, anyway).

My son is in Pre-k, is right-handed, and has awful handwriting. I asked his teacher, and she said that he just needs to develope his fine motor skills. Sometimes (according to her), boys take longer to develope these skills, because of the way you learn them, (coloring, writing, and playing with small toys). These are calmer games that girls tend to enjoy more than boys.

However, if you can get him interested in legos, that will help him develope the skills he needs to improve his handwriting. Then he will just need someone that writes left handed to help show him the proper way to write.

Hope this helps.

A., I am a lefty and have been told that I have pretty handwriting. He is just probably learning how to write and isn't quite there yet. I do know some rightys that have terrible handwriting too, so I don't think it is just the leftys!! hope that helps!

As a lefty, I must say, my hand writing has never been very good. I got in trouble in school for it, but it wasn't the worst. I am also the only left handed person in my family, so I was taught how to write by a right handed person, which made it a bit difficult.

Give him a little time, he will be ok...

My son, Adrian, is 8 and is also a lefty. My ex-husband and I are both right handed so of course this threw us for a loop. However, his step-dad is left hand and has been with us since Adrian was 2. He has tought Adrian little tricks from eating to writing to playing sports as a lefty.

When it comes to writing try seeing if he can slant his paper. I noticed Adrian stuggling and bending his wrist. My husband slanted the paper/notebook and now his writing is clear.

I have also heard of parents, day cares and schools "tricking/training" the child to be right handed. Adrian does everything left-handed but is currently being tought to play the guitar with his right.

Best of luck to you!

I have a left-handed daughter who is in 5th grade. We never encouraged her to try to right with her right hand, and really never even focused on it. Her handwriting is BEAUTIFUL!!! It has been my experience while being in the schools with all of my daughters, 5th, 2nd, and K, that most of the boys' handwriting is worse than the girls until about 3rd grade anyway. That is when they reach a developmental balance between boys and girls. It is more important for him to know his letters and be able to write some or all of them by the time he starts school than it is for him to be neat. His teachers will work with him on that. They know what they are doing. By the way, it has also been my observation with my younger two and with many of the boys I have had the chance to get to know in Kinder that they will succeed far greater if they wait to start Kinder when closer to their 6th birthday...just a thought. It did not hurt my girls a bit to wait because of the wya their birthdays fell. Good luck!

I don't think that "all lefties" have sloppy handwriting, but my 10 year old lefty sure does. Prior to Kindergarten, he wrote and colored with both hands. Most of what he did was left-handed, but certain letters, numbers and shapes, he was more comfortable using his right hand. He can still write certain numbers and letters better with his right hand than he can with his left. He also was taught a certain way to hold his pencil and a certain slant to his paper. Now that he is homeschooled, I let him hold the pencil however he is most comfortable and place the paper however he chooses. His handwriting is improving, but still VERY sloppy. And yes, he hates writing as well.

I also appreciate the response stating that it is hard to see what you have written as a lefty and therefore hard to write in a straight line. It makes sense, but as a right-handed person, I never thought about it. I will be sure to make sure he has lines on all his paper from now on.

Hi A.,
My little brother who is now 33 is a leftie and he writes absolutely awful (God live him!). However, my mother-in law is too and she is an incredible artist and has beautiful hand-writing. So, I wouldn't worry about it being an out of the ordinary thing, just some-thing to make him unique!

My 6-year old Connor is a lefty and his handwriting isn't horrible but its not great either. He's in first grade and it has improved since Pre-K. I wouldn't worry too much about it. He has issues with some of his letters like mixing his b and d but I talked to a friend of mine that is a Kinder teacher and she said thats normal for that age group. We're just working with him on making sure he knows which ways the letters go, seems like it is a bit harder for lefties. I have an old memory book of mine and my husband and I were looking at it and he said that Connor's writing looked a lot like mine did at the same age.

I'd just practice with him writing and taking his time. Thats my Connor's problem, he gets in too much of a hurry to finish so he can play that he gets sloppy. I'm sure it will improve the more comfortable he gets with writing.

From my experience, the lefties who write with their hand curved around so they can see what they are writing underneath their hands are the ones who have sloppier handwritting (and that varies by person). My husband is left handed and writes with the same hand positioning that a right handed person usually uses and his writting is neater than mine. Now, I don't have a lot of experience with handwriting issues in general, but my guess is that if you can keep them from using the funny hand "posture" (for lack of a better word) that most lefties use, there is a decent chance that he could have good handwritting. Of course, he's a boy, and boys in general have bad handwriting too, so who knows....

Our son, who is not left-handed, also had sloppy handwriting when he first began writing. His teacher gave us a wonderful suggestion. She said to get him some modeling clay and have him play with it. It actually will help build up the kid's hand/finger strength. Using the clay definitely helped our son! His handwriting in 4th grade is much better. Hope it helps your nephew!

Hi A.! I have a 6 year old boy that has not very good handwriting. I get a little nervous about it especially when I see all the other class rooms handwriting. The teacher just told me that it is fine motor skills (needs to build up strengh finger muscles). Very common in some boys. Some boys that are busy don't want to take the time to write. lol. Teacher sent home a list of things to do with him to help him and we just do a little each day and I have seen an improvement. I have him roll playdoh into balls with his fingers and even have him try doing it one handed. I also will have him try to open his own things that require his fingers mostly. There are also activities you can buy at the store to help with fine motor skills. Good Luck!

Hi A., He's young and I think it's pretty typical for a 5 year old. This is might help him out though. I am a lefty and find turning the top of the paper to the right so that it sits diagonally on the table helps. It helps keep lines of sentences straighter and I can better see what I have written.

Hi! I'm left-handed and have been told that I have very nice handwriting. Two things that I do that most other left-handed I know do not do are: I turn my paper where it is angled (opposite of writing right-handed) and I hold my pencil like a right-hander (I don't curve my hand) and that makes me not drag my hand and get ink on it. Hope this helps.

My older brother is left-handed. I'm not sure how his hand writing was when he was a kid, of course he's in his 50's know so thats been several years ago. His printing is great, but when he signs his name it's more like his first initial then a line which I think thats just a bad habit he got into. Thank goodness he prints most everything. I'm not sure if I dreamed this or read it somewhere, about boys not having the cordination in their early years and it develops later. So take heart, his writing will eventually get better!
C. V.

I'm a 40 yr. old lefty with horrible writing both print and cursive. As a child they only had desks in school designed for right handed students. I'd love to correct my writing. Why, I think people judge or mis-judge my intelligence based on my writing. Like so many of the other responses my best friend is a lefty, the same age and her writing is absolutely beautiful. I think a lot of it has to do with the teacher influencing and assisting the the child's writing style. I hope teaching lefties to write has changed since I went to school.

My child had and still has bad handwriting...please don't concentrate on this. We sent him to occupational therapy.
In todays world of computers these kiddos need not to worry about their handwriting. Focus on the the story or the picture that they were brave enough to do, not the sloppy writing or drawing...as they learn cursive, their handwriting will be totally different anyway, and probably beautiful.

My husband and I are both lefties. Our soon-to-be-4-year-old isn't.But I have noticed, that teachers kinda push lefties to be righties. Which slows down their developement. I don't know why that is. But my brother, who is 38, has the handwriting of a 3-year-old. I think now, that he was probably left handed, but his teachers pushed him to be right handed. Thank God for typewriters back then, because he is brilliant! But you would never know it by looking at his penmanship!

It isnt silly at all. My daugther is 7 1/2 & a second greader & also left handed. Her hand writing is atrocious! She also hates to write. I dont know if it causes pain or what but it is a battle each night to get her to write spelling words. I think lefty have a lot more motor control problems when they are little. I dont know what the solution is. Hopefully someone has some great advice!

After reading these responses, I had to add my experience. I am a lefty. I slant my paper the way a right-handed person does because it is more comfortable, and it has nothing to do with being able to see the letters as I write. A five year old can learn beautifully by practice--if your niece can buy a primary writing tablet with the lines for a beginning writer (not a white board, but paper), and has her son begin practicing the alphabet, then he will learn to write. Legible handwriting is a result of practice, and sending a five year old to an OT, or buying an expensive computer program to do what simple practice can accomplish, should be a few steps down the education road,not the first. Having a thicker pencil also helps small hands. There are inexpensive learning tools at the local drug stores on the office aisles if the mom needs a workbook to guide her. Sometimes, it is the anxious people around us lefties who are stressed about our writing--a five year old (almost) should be able to grow, play, learn without being pushed to perform. And, by the way, I am all for kindergarten that is very academic rather than a glorified day care. Practice with a primary pad, write between the lines, think outside them--my lefty motto!

Hello there !.. I amleft handed- and I remember that when I was a child I had trouble writing ( my paper would get messy ) or I would be a little to slow on writing compare with the rest of the class. With time my handwriting got better ! so much that people always comment how beautiful my handwriting is !.. I guess your nephew need time to develop his way on writing . Dont stress out ! .. but is nice to know he has a cool aunt that cares :) ..
it would help if he does caligraphy exercises , that's what I did

As a teacher I have seen equally messy handwriting from both lefties and righties. I myself SHOULD have been a lefty but was forced to be a righty and as a result could not learn to write neatly until much later than I should (it was legible but messy until 5th grade). Neat handwriting is a combination of good fine motor skills, visual perception, and patience. Until a child (or adult) develops all areas well, handwriting is a laborous chore. It has nothing to do with intelligence though- look at most doctors writing! I wouldn't be concerned at his age. As long as his teacher can read his writing starting in 1st grade, it is pretty much unimportant till he is several years older- if then.

Hi my son is a lefty and has terrible handwriting. He is 9 now and we laugh it off and say he is going to be a doctor. He is a straight A student otherwise. Thank goodness for computers. By the way he does everything else with his right hand so If I could do it over again I would have trained him on his right hand. Hope that helps!

My son is a left handed and has beautiful handwriting now. I started him on the Handwriting without Tears Pre-K curriculum when he was 4-5. He is 8 now and his teacher praises his penmanship. The books and stuff(roll a dough, wood pieces) are so cheap and available online... it is developmentally based and the workbooks are so easy to follow that parents can be great teachers... they even have specific suggestions for lefties. I hope this helps.

WoW! Have you received a lot of responses on this one!

Well, I'm left handed. My husband is left handed. I have both a niece and a nephew that are lefties, and my husband has a niece that is a leftie. Over the years, we've noted that we all have nice handwriting (even the guys). People often comment on how nice mine is.
On the other hand, we have a grown daughter and an 11 y/o son, that both have terrible handwriting. They are both right handed.
I figure which hand you write with has nothing to do with neatness. It's more to do with whether or not it matters to you. I've tried and tried to get my son to be neater, to no avail. It doesn't matter to him.

A., Just give him some time to mature and it will get better. My youngest son (now 25 and in college) is a righty and his writing is terrible. But my husband is a lefty and his is great. We are raising 2 great-nephews( niece's children) who are lefties. I have had to get my husband to help them form their letters as I can't show them how. They say I do it backwards. I have a grandson who was forced to learn right handed and he still has trouble with his coordination. He is 18 so it still happens. It is better to let a child learn with the hand he is most comfortable with than to make them comform to everyone else. Keep working with your son and he'll get better.
By the way, our son was raised with a computer his whole life. When we told him that he had to go to school to learn to write, he asked us why since he could already use the computer to type it for him.He was also already reading on his own too. He is now a computer science major. Anything that has to be legible for anyone else, he types on the computer. Teachers seem to have a way to read even terribly written papers.

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