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As many as 10% of the world’s population are left-handed, with many struggling with handwriting skills.
As most handwriting practice is geared towards right-handed children, more practice is required at home if you have a left-handed child. Here are some tips to improve your child’s handwriting and boost their confidence so they’ll take more pride in their writing tasks.
Is writing left-handed harder?
Many left-handed kids have a more challenging time writing. Whether achieving neater lettering or holding the pen correctly, this process can be a difficult task to master if you’re left-handed.
Writing from left to right is considered trickier as you push the pen across the paper instead of pulling it. Left-handed writing can lead to poor pencil grip, smudged work, and wrist strain.
A right-handed person teaches most left-handed writers, so these specific handwriting problems aren’t usually addressed in schools. A lack of knowledge can result in decreased handwriting confidence and a lack of desire to improve, meaning lefties are more likely to suffer with poorer writing skills well into adulthood.
Luckily, properly teaching left-handed writing can be achieved at home. Following a few simple techniques can dramatically improve left-hand writing skills.
Left-handed writing tips
From how your left-handed child holds a pencil to where they sit in the classroom, making small changes immediately betters their handwriting.
Sit on the left
Sitting your child on the left-hand side of a right-handed child means their elbows won’t clash as they write. This positioning makes their handwriting experience more comfortable, as they will have more space to adjust their posture. Speak to their teacher and ask them to rearrange the seating plan accordingly.
Position the paper
Lefty handwriting can be improved by positioning the paper slightly to the left of the centre, angled downwards. Adjusting the tilt allows your child to see the nib of the pencil as they write.
Look for wrist hooks
Some left-handed children can develop a ‘hooked’ wrist, where the wrist curls over the top of the pencil so they can see what they are writing. However, this can lead to wrist strain and injuries and make handwriting uncomfortable.
To fix this, encourage your child to keep their pencil on the line of the page, wrist below, to improve posture and minimise smudging.
Hold the pencil correctly
Another way to prevent wrist hooks and awkward neck posture is to hold the pencil correctly. Left-handed writers should ideally hold their pen or pencil 2-3cm from the point, enabling them to see around their fingers. Marking the distance with stickers or a small elastic band can help remind them of their grasp.
Use the right hand
Utilising the right hand for stability helps left-handed writers control the page more. To improve their left-hand writing skills, prompt your child to place their right-hand flat on the piece of paper, preventing the page from shifting while they write.
Left-handed writers may find writing cursive difficult, as it feels natural to hold the pen more upright. This grip makes it harder to form cursive lettering.
Adopting an upward or backward slant to their writing can improve left-handed cursive. This cursive writing style allows your child to pull down as they write, rather than pushing away with the pencil tip.
Practice using left-handed cursive handwriting worksheets with your child to increase their confidence.
Left-hand writing practice sheets
Online resources and physical workbooks can help improve your left-hand child’s handwriting. Luckily, many of these exist for free on various websites, intended to make teaching left-handed writing easier.
Practice sheets with high-frequency words enable your child to master familiar, everyday lettering, bettering their overall handwriting skills.
Other resources encourage pencil control, which is excellent if your child is practising a new pen or pencil grasp.
Left-handed children can benefit from adopting a different letter formation from right-handed writers. Workbooks help teach your child this alternative way of lettering.
Best pens for left-handed children
Many quality school pens also consider left-handed writers with their designs.
Features often include a comfortable and triangular shape to improve grip, thicker leads to resisting breakage, or a child-friendly nib to accommodate the varying writing angles of younger writers.
Updating your child’s writing apparatus can immediately improve left-handed handwriting. The Pen Company offers a range of school-friendly pens and pencils to help kids practice their writing skills.
Some top picks include:
- The Lamy ABC Mechanical Pencil – features an ergonomic non-slip rubber grip to encourage the correct grasp.
- The Faber-Castell Scribolino Fountain Pen – the chunky, modern design has a grip suitable for both right- and left-handed writers.
- The Schneider Base Senso Rollerball Pen – illuminates a warning light when too much pressure is applied, making it ideal for left-handed children learning to write.