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Video: Left-handed handwriting tips and expert advice

Left-handed handwriting tips and advice video
Left-handed handwriting tips and advice from the experts, with practical examples of the best way to position paper correctly and how to hold your wrist in the optimal position for writing. TheSchoolRun's new handwriting videos feature experts from the National Handwriting Association.

Advice and tips to help left-handed children with their handwriting, from Occupational Paediatric Therapist Catherine Elsey from the National Handwriting Association.

Handwriting tips for left-handed children

About 10 per cent of the population is left-handed, and while being a leftie doesn't prevent you from having beautiful handwriting, it's recognised that learning to write can be a more difficult process for left-handed children. This is because writing from left to right is harder: instead of pulling the pen across the paper, they have to push it, which can lead to problems such as a poor pencil grasp, smudged work, and arm strain. There are, however, some simple tips for helping your left-handed child get to grips with handwriting.

  • Position the paper correctly. Left-handed children should sit with their paper slightly to the left of centre, and angled downwards. This makes it easier for your child to see the nib of the pencil as they're writing.
  • Hold the pencil in the right place. Your child should pinch the shaft of the pencil, not the sharpened nib (but not too high - about 1.5cm from the tip) - again, this helps to prevent the hand from obscuring what your child is writing.
  • Use the right hand for stability. By placing their right hand flat on the right-hand side of the paper, your child can prevent the page from shifting about 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 child 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 children 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.

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