Left-handed and Struggling to Write

Well. after teaching my oldest two children to write pretty much the same way, my third and final child is not taking to it at all. She has just turned four and is unequivocally left handed, although orientation is commonly not settled even by the age children start school, Mae has been left hand dominant since she was pre-verbal. I am not left handed and neither are the other children so I don’t know how much of her struggle is related to her ‘handedness’. I suspect that it is, because although she is obviously not dyslexic, as her reading is good, she just can’t seem to get the hang of writing left to right, starting at the top of the letter, always doing a letter the same way… all of those fairly important things.

With my older children, I would teach them how to form a letter, they would trace over mine a few times and then I could talk them through how to form it, “start like a curly c, then up to the top and back down again, don’t forget your little flick to finish”. It was as simple as that. We would start with the letters of their name and then move onto their siblings’ names and then on to the rest of the alphabet in no particular order. Some letters make sense to teach first, like ‘c’ because it is the basis for ‘a’, and then ‘a’ leads on to ‘d’ and ‘g’ and ‘q’. Also, ‘h’ leads on to ‘b’ and ‘p’; ‘r’ leads to ‘m’ and ‘n’.

Mae is just not getting it. She can’t seem to make her hand follow the verbal instruction or even copy a letter that she has just done and it is frustrating for both of us. Just as an example, she has been writing her three letter name for some time but she has never got the hang of the letter ‘e’. As ‘e’ is one of the easiest letters to form I have found this perplexing.


Sooo, this is what we are doing. Going back a step and extending the step that the other two children seemed to hop over. Every day (and honestly, she loves doing this) she traces over my letters. We started with just a couple and we found that she preferred using a thick felt-tip or highlighter pen over my pencil drawn letter. After a few weeks of doing this I have found that if I draw the start of the letter, with the start point, then she is able to complete the letter if I talk her through it. It’s the start point that seems to be the problem. She is racing through the alphabet like this so we do the letters she knows and then add a new one when she feels comfortable.

href=”https://helenshomeschool.files.wordpress.com/2014/09/img_2782.jpg”>Handwriting sheet, the dot indicates where the letter starts. Handwriting sheet, the dot indicates where the letter starts.[/caption]



Mae gets easily discouraged with her writing so I am trying to avoid setting her up for failure at any stage. If a letter is more difficult then I write the whole letter for her and gradually take away the end strokes of the letter over a few days. She is finding the letter ‘k’ very tricky at the moment but is very happy to trace and then do the end ‘kick out’ but everytime I try and take my support back a step she struggles… it’s a slow process. But my end goal is happy, confident writers so it’s extremely important that we don’t rush this.

Sheet showing the letter 'k'

[caption id="attachment_589" align="alignleft" width="490"]Sheet showing the letter k - this was one step too far for her so I had to draw in the extra bit and just leave the final 'kick' Sheet showing the letter k – this was one step too far for her so I had to draw in the extra bit and just leave the final ‘kick’

Mae likes to do three sheets of handwriting (A4). I’m not sure why this seems a good number for her but she will ask for more if she hasn’t done three. I’m pretty sure that my son would have been more than happy to stop at one at this stage. It doesn’t really matter as long as they are getting to repeat letters they know. Eventually, it will stick. I’ll let you know how we get on.

Happy Handwriting

Happy Handwriting


About helenshomeschool

A mummy and a teacher. Enjoying teaching my own three children. Hoping to inspire other parents to do likewise. View all posts by helenshomeschool

3 responses to “Left-handed and Struggling to Write

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