I frequently get asked, “My child writes his/her name totally backwards.  What can I do?”   My candid response is “Isn’t that cool!  Betcha you can’t do that!  Can you believe it, sometimes a child writes it so that it can be read in a mirror.  Children are amazing!!

On a more practical note, writing for Americans is done from the left to the right.  In other countries in could be done right to left, top down or both.  Learning to write and read with a left to right progression is a learned skill.  It comes with practice and repetition.

Here a a few ways to instill this basic, but necessary skill in a young child.

  • In the classroom it can be taught with daily sentences or questions posed on the board.  The student can track or count the words from left to right with many things from markers to magnets to little plastic creatures or objects.
  • Retell a story with props in the story sequence from left to right.
  • Read to your child tracing under the words in sentences, have your child turn the pages, and track under the words.
  • Use a flashlight or penlight to light under the words.  (I used a laser pen with a student who had trouble stopping at the end of a sentence so he was only allowed to turn the light on at the end of each sentence.)
  • There are many tracing patterns that move from left to right.
  • Sand or salt writing in a tray left to right can help motorically ingrain this skill.
  • Do large muscle tasks left to right.  Teach a line dance; log roll left to right; hop or jump to the left, etc.
  • Children love to line up things!!  Get them started left to right.

For tons more fun ideas check in out on google!  It can be so fun to engage a child in pre-writing and reading skills that don’t even look academic!!!!  Learn left to right progression with your whole being!!



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