Left Handed Cursive Writing

Cursive handwriting can be a difficult new skill for any child! For the child who writes with their left hand, learning cursive handwriting can be especially difficult. 

Below, you will find information about teaching cursive handwriting and letters that are similar and should be taught together in groups for ease of learning.

read more about cursive letter families below as well as more cursive writing strategies and tools here and in the How to Teach Cursive Writing series that we have on The OT Toolbox this month.

You can find all of the tips and strategies for teaching cursive handwriting under the cursive writing tab up above.
These cursive handwriting strategies will help students who write left-handed to learn cursive writing, including left handed pencil grasp, positioning, slant, and cursive letter formation.

Left-Handed Cursive Writing

Left-handed writers often times have more of a challenge with writing in both printed handwriting and in cursive written work. There are several reasons for this. One of the reasons is that left-handed writers may be in the minority in a classroom. When instructed by a teacher who is right-handed, students can struggle with letter formation or pencil grasp. Additionally, the pull and push of the pencil that is necessary for letter formation can be different from the way letters are formed by an individual who writes with their right hand.

Left-handed writers can have a challenge in learning to write cursive as well.  

Hooked Wrist Position for Left Handed Writers

The direction of letter formation moves from left to right across the page. This natural direction of letter formation for the right handed writer requires a person to pull a pencil as they move it across the paper.

For a left-handed writer, the pencil needs to push across the page as it forms letters. For left-handed students they may find themselves holding their pencil and a hooked wrist position as they write. This seems to happen naturally as they push the pencil to form letters. The hooked wrist positioning can also occur as a result of positioning the hands of the student so they can see their written work.

Cursive slant for left-handed writers

For left-handed writers a cursive slant is often times very difficult. It’s more natural for left-handed writers to use an upright grass uprights late on letters.

Left handed writers may benefit from an upward or backward slant of cursive writing. This can allow for them to pull down as the right rather than pushing away with the pencil tip as they form the strokes of cursive letters.

Left handed writers and positioning

For the left-handed writer, the paper should be placed to the writer’s left side. Paper should be slanted slightly towards the right for the left-handed writer. 

Left handed students should use a pen that does not smudge or a pencil with a harder point. This is so that writing letters don’t smudge as they move their hand across the page. A softer pencil carbon will result in more smudging of pencil strokes.

Left handed students should also have enough lighting so that the shadow of their hand doesn’t interfere with their written work. Students should be positioned high enough in their desks so that they can see over their hand otherwise they may slouch onto the desk or rest their head on to their right assisting hand in order to see their written work.

Left-handed pencil grasp 

One final strategy for left-handed cursive writers is using a pencil grasp where the pencil is held far enough from the tip. Teachers or therapists can ask students to hold the pencil like they normally would and then inch their pencil up towards the eraser so that there is an extra inch at the end of the pencil between their fingers in the tip of the pencil. This allows for better view of the letter formation as they write on the paper.

Cursive letter difficulties with left handed writers

Left-handed writers often times find that clockwise movements are easier to form with small pencil motions then counterclockwise pencil strokes. Letter “o” maybe it difficult for the left-handed writer as well as the other wave letters (a, d, g, and q). These letters require the left handed writer to use larger distal pencil motions as they move those pencil away from their palm to form the curves of these letters. 

It can be common for left-handed writers to form certain letters with a right starting line by pulling the pencil back towards their palm. This adjustment can become part of their personal writing style and efficient for left-handed writers. 

Inaccuracies in in letter formation for left-handed students can progress without detection if handwriting is overall legible. Improper letter formation for left-handed writers should be assessed for function versus legibility.

Final tips for left-handed cursive writers

It’s essential students who write with their left hand to address any underlying skills needed for efficient and functional handwriting. Just as a right-handed student progresses toward independent cursive handwriting, the underlying skills need to be put into place for legibility in written work. 

Some resources in addressing the underlying skills needed for handwriting success:

Try these tricks and tips for helping students who write left-handed to learn cursive writing.


1 thought on “Left Handed Cursive Writing”

  1. You may be able to tell if a child will be left or right handed earlier by looking for the signs mentioned in this post: Is My Child Right or Lefty? How To Tell by Miss Jaime OT .

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