View Full Version : Pondering left-handed cursive handwriting style

10-07-2011, 05:30 PM
Just thinking...

Slant: cursive is generally supposed to slant forwards.

Paper position: All the advice I have seen on teaching left-handed kids to write cursive suggests tilting the paper the opposite way from right-handers. This is so that their hand is not rubbing across what they've just written and smudging/smearing it. Makes sense.

But, what this means is that most of the motions for writing forward slanting writing are going side-to-side with respect to your body, like this =. This is a push and pull motion for your fingers.

Whereas for the right-handed, most of the motions for forward slanting writing are perpendicular to your body, like this |||. This is more of a swipe motion using your whole hand and wrist, which seems (to me) a lot easier to control with precision.

Which is making me wonder --- would my child's willingness to write and ability to write neatly be improved if I encouraged backwards leaning cursive? Allowing him to tilt the paper so he doesn't rub over his writing, but teaching him to form most letters using that ||| motion. That was his natural tendency when we started. I realized one day that when I said "now straight down to the line" he was pulling straight towards his body until he hit the line, which when we turned the paper straight looked like \.

What exactly is wrong with backward slanted writing anyway? (That's partly a rhetorical question and partly challenging myself. I am biased towards forward slant as "looking nicer" but is it really important?)


My 7yo's handwriting is terrible. He hates to do it and often refuses to write anything. We've been working on cursive, just tracing letter worksheets, using a new and very special left-handed fountain pen which is only to be used for cursive writing. My goal is to get him writing more comfortably with that and then start using the fountain pen and cursive for more writing projects in general. We moved to cursive at his request and the advice of a HANDLE practitioner (sort of occupational therapist) we were seeing.

Stella M
10-07-2011, 05:49 PM
My thoughts on handwriting go no further than legibility. If you can come up with a way for your left hander to write legibly and without too much angst, I say go for it!

Sigh. There will be people who post who actually know what they are talking about re handwriting and left handedness and OT who will have actual real input for you.

But really, all that matters is other people can read it, right ?

10-07-2011, 06:41 PM
Maybe you could split the difference, tilt the paper slightly less, and have the writing be straight up and down?

(My son(14) is a lefty, too. His cursive is usually straight up and down, but that's how it is taught in Calvert's curriculum)

10-07-2011, 10:04 PM
I'm a lefty. When I first learned cursive, it was all over the place until someone told me about slanting the paper. Sometimes my writing would be straight up and down; sometimes it would have a backward slant. It all depended on how the paper landed on my desk that day. If I want a forward slant, I have to turn my paper almost at a 90-degree angle... or more! It's not good for the eyes, so I don't do it. My cursive is generally straight up and down. It's legible, and I don't have a hook to write. That's good enough for me. What's 'normal' for cursive these days, anyway?

10-08-2011, 05:35 AM
Me and my husband are both lefties, as is my son (though his dad is a righty), and none of us bother slanting our paper. I just try to keep my writing between the lines and so does my son.

When it comes to writing, I don't try to get my son to write in a specific manner. I just ask that he take his time and do it well, regardless of the slant (he's learning cursive this year at the age of 8 1/2). Then again we use Handwriting Without Tears and it's pretty neutral with regard to left vs. right.

But that's probably not very helpful to you. XD

10-08-2011, 08:40 AM
I am a leftie. I slant my paper toward the right some and get a straight up-and-down or slightly right-tilted cursive. People say it's pretty. No one helped me when I was a kid so I usually just did the opposite of all the righties.

10-08-2011, 03:36 PM
I had an art teacher once who was a lefty. She hated smudging her letters, so she taught herself how to write from right to left. She'd figure out how much of her sentence would fit on the line, then write all of the words in reverse to the beginning of the line.

10-09-2011, 09:10 AM
I'm just now starting to teach my kids cursive. My son is a lefty. I liked the research I saw on the Peterson's Directed Handwriting website so I'm using that. They have a whole section on teaching lefties. The font isn't the prettiest one out there, but my kids are young (4) and I need to start with the basics. I was hoping to be able to put it off a bit, but they were trying to write by themselves. :)

With Peterson's, lefties are using a pulling motion. It sounds like that is what your son is doing already if I read your post correctly. Maybe you can check out the info there and get some tips.

One thing that I'm liking is a paper guide that I stick on their desks. One way for lefties, one for righties.