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Why Do Left-Handed People Have Bad Handwriting

Are you left-handed? Do you find that your handwriting is worse than your right-handed peers? If so, why do you think that is? In today’s article, we’ll look at the reasons some left-handers have lousy handwriting, or do they?

Left-Handers and Learning to Write

When left-handed children start school and begin learning to write, they may be left out as they are nearly the opposite of how right-handed children write. If the teacher is unaware of how to help their left-handed students, they continue to write wrong, contributing to messy handwriting. On top of that, some left-handers never overcome several factors such as smearing graphite or ink not only across their paper but on the side of their hand as well.

What factors can help a left-handed child learn to write neater? Well, there are several.

  • The way they grip their pen or pencil has an impact on how they write
  • The position of their arm and wrist impacts the way they write
  • The position of their paper is also essential.

Children are taught to hold their pencil in the tripod grip. That is where the pencil is held with their index finger and thumb, resting the pencil against the middle finger. When encouraged to use this grip, it can prevent left-handed children from wanting to hook their hands. It also strengthens the wrist and helps with dynamic finger movements. Using this position will help them control their writing instruments as they get older.

The way a left-hander holds their hand for writing is a copy of how a right-hander holds their pen or pencil as long as it’s the tripod grip. It’s the most comfortable way to grip a writing utensil. I don’t remember if I was taught to hold my pencil in this manner when I first started writing, but it’s the only way I hold my pens or pencils now. I did have a teacher when I was younger wanting to force me to write right-handed. My mother told this teacher in no uncertain terms that she wouldn’t do that. I won’t tell you here what she told the teacher she’d do if the woman tried to make me write right-handed.

The next thing children should be taught to place their paper at an angle. Left-handers should tilt the top of their paper to the right at thirty to forty-five degrees. Right-handers should tilt the top of their paper to the left at twenty to forty-five degrees. Placing the page at these angles makes it more comfortable writing and allows the arm and wrist to sit at a natural inclination. The helps a left-handed writer keep their words a bit neater on the page.

If children are taught from the time they start learning to write to hold their pencil correctly and angle their paper in the right way, they don’t have to be messy writers. If they aren’t taught the correct way to hold their pencil and position their paper, they can become bad at handwriting.

So, Why do Left-Handers Have a Reputation for Poor Handwriting?

Left-handers face challenges daily, and writing is one of those challenges. If a left-hander hasn’t been instructed in the right way to hold their pen or pencil and angle their paper, they may have messy handwriting. They can end up writing with their hand hooked over the top of their writing. They may smudge their words, form letters the wrong way (I think that may be the left-handed way. We adapt.), or being unable to use certain pens because they push the pen across the page rather than pull. Another problem left-handers face is holding the pen or pencil high enough to see what they are writing and to keep from smudging either their page or their hand. Left-handers also tend to grip their pen or pencil too tight, leading to tense handwriting or having their hand cramp.

The reason left-handers have such a reputation for poor handwriting is that they may indeed have lousy writing, but some right-handers have terrible handwriting, too. So, that is an insufficient reason. However, other reasons that they are deemed to have bad writing is that they can smudge their words as they write. Their letters also slant in a way that right-handed writing doesn’t do.


So, what did we find in this article? We discovered that left-handers taught the right way to hold their writing utensils and angle their paper don’t have bad handwriting. With these left-handers, they may have awful writing due to some things that can be unavoidable. The biggest issue is that since left-handed people push their pen or pencil across the page, ink or graphite can smudge, leaving the words looking less than polished. However, some have horrid writing as far as their actual writing, but others write pretty neatly.

In conclusion, we have found that some left-handers have terrible handwriting, but others have fairly neat writing. Not all lefties have bad handwriting. What was your experience like when you learned to write? If you are older, do you remember that experience? I don’t recall my learning experience. I was hard-headed about my handedness. I was left-handed, and that was that. If you have a story about learning to write as a left-hander, please tell us. We’d love to hear it.

3 thoughts on “Why Do Left-Handed People Have Bad Handwriting”

  1. One factor contributing to the fact that left handed people have an “uglier” handwriting is that the way right-handed people write their letters sometimes doesn’t work as flawlessly as writing it from the opposite side. Left-handed people who write letters starting from the right side (so mirroring the order of strokes for a letter) usually have better handwriting than those who just copy the way right-handed people draw those letters, since this way they drag the pen around the paper instead of pushing it.

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