As your child begins to develop motor skills, he’ll be showing you his dominant hand; however, hand dominance is not expected to fully develop until the Kindergarten years, between ages five and six. This is also the age kids start writing. How can parents and teachers help left-handed children achieve a strong start to writing?
There is not a big difference between teaching writing to right-handed and left-handed children, but there are a few important things parents and teachers can keep in mind to make writing for lefties easier and less frustrating.
Lefties have a tendency to use a “hook” grasp which makes it easier for them to see what they are writing and cuts down on the smearing as they drag their hand across their written work. Parents and teachers can help prevent the “hook” grasp with a few small adjustments to a child’s paper position and grip.
Encourage your child to angle his paper with the left corner pointing up which places their writing arm in a natural position to write on the lines.
Teach left handed writers to place their paper to the left of their body so then can see what they are writing.
Encourage your child to utilize the right hand as the “helper hand” to stabilize their paper so it is less likely to slide around.
Provide lefties with an extra copy of worksheets to place above or to the right of where they are working so they can easily see the lesson. This is especially important when teaching lefties to copy letters and words.
Encourage the child to use the tripod grasp by pinching the pencil with the index finger and thumb and resting the pencil on the other fingers. I usually remind kids to do this by telling them that the “mom and dad fingers hold the pencil and the kids go underneath”.
Teach your lefty to hold the pencil about 1 to 1.5 inches above the pencil tip allowing them to see what they are writing. To remind the child of where to pinch the pencil, place a small sticker on the pencil at the correct height for an easy visual cue.
Kids who struggle with proper grip can benefit from special pencils or grippers but keep in mind that lefties are not less capable than righties of an efficient grasp.
Consider purchasing #3 pencils for lefties because the led is harder and less likely to smear.
Provide lefty scissors because of the blade orientation. In a pinch you can turn right-handed scissors upside down in order to switch the blade orientations but this is not ideal for finger placement.