11/09/2009 06:23 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

Tip Of The Day - Help Your Left Handed Child Improve Their Writing Skills

Despite reports that pupils are being taught keyboarding skills instead of handwriting, I don't think we've quite reached the point where we can give up on good old fashioned pen and paper.

But what if your child is left handed? They may even be reluctant to pick up a pencil, since it feels so awkward. My son is a leftie, and could barely manage a scribble when he started school. But over time, he has learnt to write reasonably well.

So what helps left handed children learn to write? Here are some ideas:

  • Anything that gets your child using their hands will help to develop their fine motor skills. So building Lego and doing crafty stuff all helps. You don't always have to actually be writing to improve your writing skills.
  • Teachers also recommend: using a chop stick or any pen-like implement to make shapes in paint; using your finger to draw in the sand; toys like this that involve lacing thick thread through cards.
  • Use a special pen. Recently we trialled the Yoropen, an award-winning, unusually shaped pen available here from Pen Heaven. The tripod grip adjusts to help the novice writer. These pens are advertised as being suitable for all, including people with writing difficulties like dyspraxia. My right handed daughter wasn't keen, but my little leftie loved it.
  • He also loves this pen for beginner writers from Stabilo. It comes in both left and right handed versions, so your child doesn't have to stick out from the crowd if they don't want to. But conversely - this was what my son liked about the Yoropen - it was different and it made him feel special to have his own pen that was unlike anything else we'd seen. And this really is the key to getting lefties writing - make it something to feel good about, and not an enormous challenge to be overcome.

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