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Emergent writing - backwards. Do I say anything?

(12 Posts)
Runoutofideas Thu 09-May-13 11:39:36

I look after a little girl who has just turned 3. She shows a preference for using her left hand generally. She has just started wanting to write and can form the first letter of her name. The only thing is, she does it backwards, from right to left. Then does a row of them, again, from right to left.
My instinct is to praise her attempts and not try to make her do it the other way round. Is this right though, or is this something which should be nipped in the bud at her first attempts? I don't want to put her off trying... Thanks

savoirfaire Thu 09-May-13 23:07:23

Hi, perhaps post this on primary thread - there are some experts on there who might have advice. I'm sure I've seen people say that this is fine, don't comment and it will resolve later. Having said that, my DS who is only a little older I tend to say something like 'that's excellent, well done, can I show you how I do a X' and then write it correctly. No idea if this is advisable though tbh.

NMM Thu 09-May-13 23:09:53

Is the actual letter reversed i.e. a mirror image of what it should be?...or is she working from right to left on the page?

Letter reversals can be expected to be seen until at least 6 year olds.

intheshed Thu 09-May-13 23:14:51

At age 3 I wouldn't correct her, but just give lots of opportunity for her to see her name written down, maybe get her to trace the letters, play with magnetic letters etc.

DD is now 5 and sometimes gets 'b's and 'd's mixed up. I just tell her to have another look at it- or say 'and how do we write a b?'

LackaDAISYcal Thu 09-May-13 23:18:53

This is very common with left handers. My brother struggled with it for ages and used to try and write from right to left iirc. The school helped enormously

Regard to getting individual letters mixed up; this is very common even up to the age of seven or eight.

Runoutofideas Fri 10-May-13 07:06:02

The letter she writes is an "M" so it looks the same either way round, she just starts it from the bottom right hand corner, then places the next "M" to the first one's left.
Thanks for the replies. Will try out some of the ideas. Thanks

teacherlikesapples Fri 10-May-13 19:35:39

This is very very common & as NMM mentioned can be seen until some kids are 6 years old. Since the child is 3- there is no reason to even make the child aware of it, ideally you should try & avoid making them feel self conscious about their writing in any way.

Trust your instincts! They are right smile As you said- Praise effort. Praise the parts of her writing that are recognisable & correct e.g "I like that lovely straight line for the P"

Encourage, extend by following their interest (special pencils, writing books, notepads etc...) There is absolutely no need to make corrections at this age!

Runoutofideas Sat 11-May-13 09:14:56

Great - thanks!

insancerre Sat 11-May-13 16:38:52

You risk putting her off writing and stamping out her new found enthusiasm for writing.
Just give her lots of opportunities for writing and model writing in real situations.
Opportunities like writing in shaving foam and flour, gloop and sand
Make books, write letters and lists but most of all, make it fun and relevant.
Writing is really common in left-handed children, as others have said. As she is only 3, she may not even have decided which hand is her dominant hand yet.

May09Bump Wed 15-May-13 03:35:36

I would ask her parents what approach they would like to take and if they are correcting at home too as it could be confusing if inconsistent.

My 4yr old started writing backwards at 3yrs (also a lefty) and I had experienced it before as my sister and mother both did it. My sister was left to correct at a later age and it caused her lots of trouble, so my approach (each to their own) was to positively correct. for example, saying thats great writing / holding pen etc - now shall we try it this way and it quickly worked. It also helped with his reading - for example he would read a digital clock right to left and start looking at letters on the right side of the page.

It hasn't hampered my son in anyway - he loves writing / drawing and can't do enough of it. I found in my family lefties like writing / drawing with pens or markers, more than crayons - so like other posts try different medias / crafts.

For me, it's like kids saying an apple is an orange and not correcting them. You can say well done for identifying its a fruit, but it's an apple. You can do this without crushing their attempts.

This is my personal experience and what is working for me.

crazeelaydee Thu 16-May-13 22:03:57

My Dd is the same, just turned 4 lefty. I have gently been encouraging her to write her letter the opposite way while giving praise to the fact she has written the letters for some time now but she still does it, I'm going to continue doing this and hopefully one day it'll just happen. I wouldn't be worried about it though it's great to see her interested in writing.

Ineedmorepatience Fri 17-May-13 16:27:31

I have 2 leftie children and they have both done this, Dd1 can write mirror fashion across the page from right to left. It has never caused her any problems. Dd3 on the other hand has some special needs and gets very confused sometimes. She sometimes still reverses letters and numbers and sometime reads words backwards too.

I would recommend drawing a little flower or a smile or even just a coloured spot on the left of the paper and seeing if you can encourage her gently to start her name next to it.

Good luck smile

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