Writing Her letters...backwards!

Updated on January 31, 2012
D.S. asks from Philadelphia, PA
20 answers

Hi, Moms!!
Just have a silly question......Is it normal for children to write their letters backwards when they are just starting to learn? I vaguely remember hearing this, but not sure.....my DD who turned three in September is beginning to write her name, but some of the letters, especially C, she writes backwards.
Now, I am not really worried about this as I am thrilled that she is taking an interest in writing letters at all!!! Just was wondering if this is what children do ? :)

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answers from Charlotte on

Yes, it's normal. Don't worry about it! And when she loses interest, and she will, let it go. At this age, she's far too young to be expected to do it from now on. More important is all the reading you are doing with her, talking, giving her vocabulary, giving her manipulatives to work those little hand muscles, these kinds of things. Give her play-doh, clay, have her make necklaces out of beads because those little finger movements are so important for being able to effectively write later. Let her color with crayons, teach her to cut with scissors. All this will get her ready for kindergarten. The writing will come out of all of this.

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answers from Washington DC on

D. - yes. It's very common! Don't stress. Some kids write their letters backwards until the 3rd grade. Each child is different.

B, D, C, G, 4, 6, 9 are also common to write backwards.

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answers from Norfolk on

It's very common even into 1st and 2nd grade.
That she's writing anything at 3 is pretty early.
A lot of kids don't even settle into right hand or left hand until 5 or 6 yrs old.
It's nothing to worry about.
Just encourage having fun with writing and drawing right now and don't worry about it being totally correct.
Small motor development takes time and practice and many 3 yr olds are playing with play dough and finger paints and are not yet writing.
Your challenge will be to keep her from getting bored with it.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Colorado Springs on

Not to worry. If she's still doing it when she's ten, you can worry.

Writing takes a lot of physical and mental coordination. Your daughter is at the point at which she knows that a "b," for instance, takes a long line and a circle, but when it comes to the actual writing, she hasn't quite mastered the next step, which is putting the long line and the circle in the proper places. But she's getting there.

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answers from Columbia on

COMPLETELY normal. My boys wrote letters and numbers backwards until about 7 years old.

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answers from Pittsburgh on

Completely normal, up until age 6-7 according to my son's kindergarten teacher and pediatrician.

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answers from Boston on

TOTALLY normal. My kids, once they finally learned to turn the letters around, continued to have trouble with numbers for much longer.

One of my daughters is left-handed, and would write her entire name backwards - a perfect mirror-image - from right to left. We'd say, "OK, now start on this side" and point to the left, and she'd write it the correct way. Very weird! But still normal. : )

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answers from Detroit on

Just asked this a my son's conference yesterday -- he is 3. He is learning the letter V and writes it both upside down and right side up. His teacher said this was normal and he's just practicing the shape. She said I could keep showing him the right way to do it each time he is practicing without pressuring him, and then to back off and let him write however he wants.

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answers from Minneapolis on

I had a lefty daycare girl who learned to write her name pretty quickly in a 4 mos period when she left my care briefly (for an auntie to watch her then the auntie moved back out of the area so she came back to me), but she wrote her name in a perfect mirror image backwards. Letters and front to back it was al backwards! According to their Ped and info I found, it can be perfectly normal. Retraining them, as with this child I had here, can be a bit tough as hers was a complete backwards in all ways. We worked on it, but her instinct was still the backwards image for her name at least.

She is in Kindy now and I assume is doing well. She was a very bright child!

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answers from Kansas City on

Completely normal and some even do it in 1st or 2nd grade for a bit with letters like 'b' or 'd', etc. Sometimes the 's' will be backwards. They'll catch on and do it right in time. Some confuse 5 with S, etc. Don't worry.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

So normal that Toys R Us and many other children's companies have backwards letters in their names.

b p q g d

Whoa. Right? Put all together they can even make an adult blink for a moment.They're all 5 NEARLY the same letter. Left or right, up or down?

S R A B are also really common to go backwards just from starting the wrong way

B 8 common mixups

c a (typing doesn't show it but a's are usually c's with a line), and a b is a backwards c with a line

We've been writing for so long, and reading for so long, that most of us forget how SIMILAR many letters are, and how many are shapes that start one way while another is a shape that goes another.

One thing I found REALLY helpful when teaching my son to write was writing with my left hand. Mostly because even though I'm a fluent reader, making the shapes with my left hand was reeeeeally difficult AND exhausting. The muscles aren't used to it. DITTO try writing upside down (writing hand or non writing hand) or backwards mirror image. You WILL mess many of the letters up... just because you have to consciously remember whch way to 'start' a letter. Your DD is just doing the same thing right now... having to consciously remember, because the muscle memory isn't there, yet.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Totally normal. Heck, my kid even writes his words from right to left.

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answers from Houston on

Is she left handed? I am, my Mom kept some of my early writings. Some have backward letters and others have the words written right to left instead of left to right.

Today I could not write that way if I wanted to. Be patient and work with her. Three is young to be writing so there is a lot of time to work it out.

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answers from Columbia on

Leonardo Da Vinci wrote in perfect script - backwards.

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answers from Philadelphia on

Not unusual at all. My triplets are 7 and will occasionally put a letter or number backwards. All the teachers say it can happen even in 3rd grade. Mine are in 1st.

Think about it this way. To a newbie learning letters it appears to them as jumbled shapes until they become common place in their head and there's 26 letters and a bunch of numbers and shapes to remember as well. Remember doing geomotry and trying to keep all those shapes in your head? Couldn't remember which one was which. Well, imagine a preschooler having the same experience trying to remember which way a C faces like we tried to remember how a trapazoid faced. Crazy, huh?

K. B
mom to 5 including triplets


answers from Salt Lake City on

It sure is common. They call it "reversals". My daughter is in first grade and up until a few months ago was still reversing some of her letters, but her teachers have seemed unconcerned and it seems to be just one of those things that goes away with practice. That is awesome that your 3 year old is trying to write!



answers from Honolulu on


Even in Kindergarten.



answers from Harrisburg on

Absolutely normal!! My kids did this and when I volunteered in my son's kindergarten class last year, I saw several other kids doing it too.


answers from Hartford on

It's completely normal and nothing at all to worry about.


answers from Milwaukee on

This is very normal, it is part of the learning process. Just show them how to correctly do it and in a few months their brain will process it correctly.

Also between 5-6 some children will write letters backwards again, it is part of where their brain is developmently. Correct it and in a few months it morethenlikely will not be an issue any more. My daughter is in kindergarten and the teacher just sent a note home about it :)

There is a small chance that if the letters are still being written backwards, and then switching around letters it might be early signs of dsylexia... BUT do not jump to this conclusion until a teacher has worked with them, kindergarten and 1st grade. I am dsylexic but was able to write my name "correctly" in kindergarten... it was just later when doing spelling tests and reading that the teachers and my mom noticed my inverting of letters/numbers and reading.

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