Backward Letters

Updated on September 20, 2012
L.J. asks from Milford, MI
15 answers

My grandaughter is now in 3rd grade and is still writting her letters backwards. she is a very high accademic student and a great speller. She has been doing this all through school and all her past teachers say that there is no problem, but we feel that there is. She is not Dyslexic, she has been tested, but we can not figure out why she is doing this?

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

So What Happened?

Thank you everyone for all your responses. My grandaughter is not left handed and she is reading at a 6th grade level. She is so very talented in art and has won contests for her art work. She has been to the eye doctor and he said that she is fine, so we are really at a loss. We are frustrated because the teachers do not seem to think this is a big issue, should we? If she makes any books, she starts from the back and works forward.

Featured Answers



answers from Columbia on

Leonardo Da Vinci is widely considered one of the smartest men to have ever lived.

He wrote backwards. Not just as a child, but throughout his life. :)

3 moms found this helpful

More Answers



answers from Redding on

Is she left-handed by any chance?

My daughter is incredibly intelligent, was a great reader, speller, had very neat writing, but even in the 3rd grade often wrote a letter here or there backwards. She did not have dyslexia, no vision problems, but what we realized was that the ONLY thing she did left-handed was write. She does everything else right-handed, throwing a ball, batting in baseball, bowling, etc.

I am kind of the opposite. I write with my right hand, but I do most other things with my left hand.

It's worth a try to pay attention to that. Your granddaughter might have both sides of her brain working for different things. My daughter grew out of writing things backwards. It was just a matter of paying a bit more attention.

If it's not harming your granddaughter academically and the teachers aren't concerned, I wouldn't be either. It's something she does from time to time and she just needs to focus a little more, especially if it tends to be certain letters.

Just my opinion.
Best wishes.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Boca Raton on

I thought I had an idea for you until I read that she's a great speller - that stumped me! :P

For our son, late reversals were a sign of a visual processing disorder. He's done alot of work in that area (visual training, special tutor, etc.) but still struggles mightily with spelling. Thank heavens for spell check.

You might want to consult with a developmental optometrist. Here's our guy (his web site is interesting):

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

If she has been tested and is not dyslexic, could she have vision problems? I was recently told that if my 4 yr old was still mixing up her p, b, and d at 7 that I should have her re-evaluated.

How does she work? Is she a speed worker? My SD used to get things wrong because she didn't slow down and write carefully. Is your child the same?

2 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

I think that's still somewhat common up to third, even fourth grade.
Have you talked to the school literacy specialist? Is that who tested her for dyslexia?
I would talk to whoever tested her to get a professional opinion, and advice on helping her practice writing her letters the right way.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

usually, the backwards writing stops at 2nd grade. if she has been tested and not determined to be dyslexic, then I would suggest that she get her vision tested and see if she has vision problems.

Also - what happens when she writes a letter backward? Does she get attention for it? or what? I ask because it might be an "attention' thing if no vision or dyslexia issues..

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

My daughter did that up through 3rd grade with certain letters. It's not necessarily dyslexia.

Having her trace letters and also practice the correct sequence of where to move the pencil helped. She didn't want to start her letters where we asked her to and as a result, she wrote them incorrectly.

She didn't want to practice handwriting so I got some books that were fun and included drawing. Getting control over her pencil helped.

After third grade she stopped writing her letters backward. She just needed extra drilling, and also a change in attitude.

Some kids can't remember which way a letter goes. It's like if you get to an intersection and can't remember which way to turn. Doesn't mean you can't drive or that you have a spacial processing disorder!

Especially if she can read and spell. She's just not remembering which way to write the letter.

Also, focusing on it probably makes it harder for her to remember because now she's nervous about getting it wrong!

The book we used helped her with "b" and "d" because they turned the "b" into a boy and the "d" into a dog so all she needed to do was picture the boy and the dog and she remembered which way to write the letter!

Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Jacksonville on

How is her writing otherwise? Does she have any other difficulties besides the reversal of a few letters here and there?

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

*Edit: So sorry, I was rushing this morning and did not read this well enough. Your Granddaughter is in 3rd grade, not 3.


She is only 3. She is SO young.
3 year olds do this.
It does not matter how smart they are or not.
Even 4 and 5 year olds do that.
Then as the child gets older.... it begins to be aged out.
Meaning, by that age, they have the fine motor ability more and that coupled with the visual coordination.
Even in 1st grade, some kids may do that.
My son is in 1st grade and is 6.... and he SOMETIMES does that with the letter "d".
His Teacher, has NO problems with it.
And she is highly regarded in child development.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I wondered about the left-handedness, too. Both of my sons are advanced academically, but did this as well through second grade. They are both left-handed, and a couple of teachers mentioned that they had seen this before in left-handed students. My oldest is now in 9th grade, and my youngest is in third. They each stopped writing backwards letters near the beginning of 2nd grade.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

My son is now in 4th grade. He had problems with D and B and would write them backward. When he did homework at the counter, I sat to his right. When he would get confused on which way to write the B, I would say, it goes toward me, because I'm a Beauty. When he would write the D, I would say, it goes toward you, because you are the Dude. He now pictures that in his head and it isn't a problem anymore.

I think if the doc and teachers are saying she is ok, I would give it another year, maybe find something visual like I did that might help her. Then if she is still doing it, seek advice. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

Believe your teachers. 2 of my kids wrote their letters backwards and those 2 are in Gate programs. Interestingly, it was my 2 lefties.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

What if you teach her to spell in cursive? My daughter's handwriting is getting a LOT better now that she is learning cursive (she is also in 3rd grade). This may also help her printing, just from the development of fine motor skills and from the reinforcement of learning the letters in a new way. Just a thought!



answers from Atlanta on

There are several things you can do to help this but also keep in mind that many children do this until even age 11 or 12 and it's not a problem.

This may sound silly, but have her work her toes every day - scatter some marbles on the floor and have pick them up with her toes and put them in a basket or box - right foot, left foot, right foot, left foot. Have her do the same with small bean bags. Also have her toss the bean bag to you back and forth (w/hands) while reciting a poem/verse you've learned or while counting or reciting her time tables. She can pick up all kinds of things with toes, don't have to keep it to just this, but this is a great excerise when done regularly. ( me and the kids do it every morning during the week)

But first have her make her bean bags out of felt. Have her cut squares or whatever shape she likes (best to start w/squares especially if she never done anything like this) and sew around it with large needle and floss/embroiery thread making as tight close stitches as she can, do a loop/whip stitch. Fill with dried beans. She can make all kinds of things with felt, it's very forgiving and does not ravel. Kids love it.

Now, the thing is she will gain much more than bean bags to use for herself or make for friends which is fun in itself -- she will be focusing and concentrating and working her attention/mind and her hands -- the hand-brain connection. This kind of thing brings it together just as working the toes does. Basically, the brain sees working the toes the same as it does the fingers. Knitting is terrrific too. Learning this it will make a wonderful difference too.

Also, be sure she knows her right from her left. Have her stand in front of you in the mirror and you bought hold out your left arm, then right. You can maybe make it into a little game maybe play like windmills. --- Then when she begins to write a letter, lets say an S turn your back to her in front of her and hold out your right arm showing her and telling her that the S begins on the right side. You can do this with each letter.

I do this with my granddaughter and it makes a big difference and I rarely have to do it anymore. She use to make her 5s and a few letters backwards. I have a son that did it w/most everything when he was a kid and I sure wish I knew more then about helping him. But I've come miles and miles since then. Anyway, give it a try and keep gently working with her. Think about it, it really isn't natural to write out this code we have for communicating, if she lived in another country she'd be learning a whole differnt set of letters. Give her time and don't worry. Be sure she gets plenty of free play for her imagination to use and lots of outdoor play, climbing, jumping, running. In our culture the lack of this is a huge problem and is disrupting a lot of natural growth in children in their bodies, brains, spirit. And it can cause this type of thing with the letters too and much more.

All the Best



answers from Kansas City on

Maybe suggest that she go see an eye doctor. My son had some issues at school, and he ended up needing eye therapy.

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions