Sunday, May 31, 2009

From Mirror-Writing to Rainbow-Writing

Oh, the trials of a left-handed child. Unless your parents/teachers are left-handed, too, every darn thing is modeled with the wrong hand. Cutting is harder, writing is harder (lower-case a, how does a leftie ever write you?), and I do not even know what I'm going to do when Willow is ready to learn to knit.

Mirror-writing is still developmentally appropriate at this age, but it's also developmentally appropriate to be moving past it by now, and since Willow is beginning to be able to read a little, and clearly knows which way words move across the page, I've been just pointing it out to her when she writes backwards, and very occasionally, usually when she's written a word that she's memorized or when she's written a word that needs to be accessible to other people (cards to grandmas, name on her Summer Reading Program chart), asking her to correct something. Since Willow writes so much, what I don't want is for her to internalize mirror-writing--that would be harder to unlearn (some people theorize that Leonardo Da Vinci engaged in mirror-writing secretly because he was a (gasp!) leftie).

Montessori has a lot of moveable letters and moveable words, and one thing that I think Will's been doing when she copies is to put the word on her right side (of course!), and then mirror-writing is very natural--it's much more difficult to figure out how to copy a word going the correct way when the word is on one side of you or another. We're going to have that problem here, too, perhaps, because one of our projects this coming week is to write some sight words to label everything in the house. But one thing that's been working so far, especially with unfamiliar words, is to have Willow put the word above her paper--it's easier to line it up and follow the correct order when she's copying the word directly below its model.

Another thing that works for words that are more familiar to her, and that thus she's a little more used to mirror-writing, perhaps, is to make a game in which I write the word with each letter a different color, and then challenge her to copy it. Hence Willow's favorite word of all time:
Not bad. And besides, everyone knows that N is the bugbear of the alphabet.


Unknown said...

Willow will do just fine with her penmanship. I can't remember the technique St. B used, but the kids started in lower case that looked a lot like cursive so it was easier for them to go right into cursive when the time came. I will see if they still have their books. Also, knitting will be a breeze for her. There is no left hand/right hand domination. Now, crocheting would be a different story. I always had problems with three ring binders and scissors. But, if she has any problems, there is always Aunt Pam. I don't write like most lefties and I would be happy to help her out. And after all Willow is in her "right mind". hee hee

julie said...

That's right, I forgot about what nice handwriting Willow's Aunt Pam has!

The only thing I'm really concerned about is the way she learns to hold her pencil--I want her to enjoy writing and to be able to do it for long periods of time, if she wants, but I've seen a lot of lefties who have a really cramped handgrip that doesn't look comfortable for them, that kind where their whole hand is curved around and they sort of hold the pencil north of their line of writing, you know? I've read that's so they can see what they're writing and not smudge their words.

I did find a resource, however, that talks about appropriate form for lefties--tilting the paper to the right pretty far, keeping the arm parallel to the sides of the paper, and holding the pencil a little further back than righties do, so I'm also encouraging Willow to do those things.

I always found three-ring binders really annoying, too, because it was impossible for me to write on the LEFT side of the binder!

Coccinelle said...

I just checked your link about how to write with the left hand and I tried!

I made a complete page with aaaaa bbbbb ccccc etc. in cursive style and it was really fun. It looks like I am 6 years old though!

I wrote a "p" in my "q" line!

I'm a right-handed person, in case it was not clear ;o)

I also tried cutting a circle with my left hand... I think everybody should try to write and cut with their "other" hand once in life!

julie said...

I used to do that all the time! I had this one class as a grad student that was basically the most boring experience of my life, and to basically stay alive during the course of that tortuous time, I would entertain myself by taking notes with my left hand, or by cobbling together phrases from the incredibly boring things the professors were saying to make little poems.

I actually thought the poems turned out pretty good.

glenna said...

Thanks for becoming a follower to my little blog.I am glad you did, because I've enjoyed yours tonight. We've got left handed folks in our clan too!

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