UCB Parents Advice about Worries Big & Little
Writing in Reversed Letters
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For the last month or so, my almost 4 1/2 year old has been fascinated
with taking "dictation" -- I spell a word for her, and she writes it down.
morning, as I was sorting laundry, she wanted to write a "Dear
Grandma" letter, so I spelled it out for her. When she finished, she
showed it to me and it was done completely backwards -- right to left, all
the letters perfect except that they were reversed i.e., if you were to hold
it up to a mirror it would look normal. My question is, is this a normal
developmental thing? Is it an early sign of dyslexia? Or is she a budding
Leonardo/a DaVinci? Any thoughts would be appreciated!
My now 13 year old daughter also wrote nearly all of her stories,
notes, letters as an exact mirror image - all letters and the order reversed.
She continued to do this through at least part of kindergarten, when
we started noticing it occurred less and less often. We thought it might
have had something to do with the fact that she is left-handed. She
has thrived in a bilingual program since kindergarten, writes well and
loves to read, so her mirror-writing style doesn't seem to have signified
any problem. We enjoyed being able to hold them up to the mirror and
reading them - we have even managed to preserve a few wonderful examples.
My son's kindergarten teacher said that writing backwards is a
development stage and completely normal. He's in first grade now and
still reverses individual letters and digits some times. His first grade
teacher tells us we can gently point out that these letters are beautifully
formed but backwards, but I don't bother.
P.S. I recall reading that DaVinci's mirror writing was done by
writing backwards with his left hand. I've tried it and find it easier
to write backwards than forwards with my left hand. (I'm right-handed.)
For most pre-literate children, letters are drawn, not written. With
practically every other shape they draw, left-right orientation is not
significant, so they concentrate on getting the shapes right, and
forget about orientation. My daughter not only wrote forward and backward
at random, but had difficulty being convinced that there was any
difference. Nowadays she has some interesting laterality concepts--she
has always felt that most numbers face the opposite way from most
letters, and she likes to use her left hand to write in Greek--but
she's neither dyslexic, nor another DaVinci. (I could be wrong about the
This is in response to the woman whose 41/2 year old daughter wrote
"mirrored" or backwards writing and wanted to know if it was normal. It
is. My daughter, who is now 71/2, still writes some letters and numbers
backwards. Her second grade teacher said that it is perfectly normal,
and that we should only worry if it doesn't clear up by the end of the year.
My daughter who is 5 years old also reverses some of the alphabet
letters. She is in Kindergarten now and she is learning more and more
everyday. Sometimes she recognizes the letters in reverse i.e. she would
see a lower case ba and think that it is a q. I spoke to her teacher about
it because I was also concerned about dyslexia. She informed me that
this was very normal at their age as they are just learning the
alphabet. There are so many new factors that they have to work with,
how to hold the pen, how to sit, which direction the letters go and
etc... that in the beginning, the 1st year they may reverse the letters.
The teacher said that if this continues into 1st or 2nd grade, then you
should be concerned but not during their 1st year of learning. I hope this
helps put your mind at east.
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