August 13this International Left Handers Day! About 10 percent of the population is left-handed, and while being a leftie doesn’t keep you from having good handwriting, learning to write can be a more difficult process for left-handed students. This is because writing from left to right is harder: instead of pulling the pen across the paper they have to push it, which lean lead to problems such as incorrectly pencil holding, smudged work, and arm strain. Here are some simple tips and tricks for helping your leftie students to get to grips with handwriting.
- Position the paper correctly. Left-handed students who can print sentences across the page are ready to tilt their paper at a slight angle to follow the natural arc of the writing hand. Put the left corner of the page higher, so the writing hand is below the line of writing.
- Hold the pencil in the right place. Your student should grasp the body of the pencil, not too high not too low, this also helps prevent their hand from covering up what they are writing.
- Use the right hand for stability. By placing their right hand on the right-hand side of the paper, your child can prevent the page from sliding as they write.
- Keep the wrist below the line. Left-handers often develop a hooked wrist position, where the wrist curls over the top of the pencil, so that they can see what they’re writing, but this can make writing uncomfortable. Encourage your student to keep the pencil on the line, with the wrist below, to improve their vision, reduce arm strain and prevent smudging.
- Sit lefties on the left. If your left-handed child sits to the right of a right handed child their elbows will clash as they write.
- Put a dot at the start of the line. When they’re learning to write, left-handed students often naturally write from right to left. Putting a mark at the left-hand side of the line can remind them where to start writing.
- Cross Strokes. When writing, we typically travel from top to bottom and left to right. At times, lefties may choose to cross letters by pulling their writing hand from right to left. This is natural. Model the cross strokes for them in their workbooks. Letters with cross strokes are A, E, F, G, H, I, J, T and lowercase f and t.
- Lefty-Friendly Workbooks. Make sure the workbooks you use in the classroom are lefty-friendly, especially when it comes to early writing skills like handwriting. Pages should provide letter models on the left and right so left-handed students can always see the model they are copying.