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Writing numbers and letters bottom to top rather than top to bottom

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
My 6.5 year old son is doing this.
Why is it that kids do this?
Do I need to make sure he corrects this now?
Or is this something they correct on there own in time?

At this point I have just gently reminded him to start at the top. He does then goes back starting at the bottom.
post #2 of 25
Why? no idea, but my now 7yo does the same thing. I basically do what you have been doing and remind him (and sometimes demonstrate the correct way to make the letter). I figure if the end product looks like it's supposed to I'm going to try not to stress over it
post #3 of 25
Well, my dd who is now 11 STILL writes her letters from bottom to top. I tried and tried and tried to correct her, to no avail. I once read, though, that there is a connection between giftedness and writing letters from bottom to top, so I finally gave up and just let her do it since she can still write pretty fast and legibly this way.

My ds (6) also writes from bottom to top and I'm trying to change that. He's a little more willing to change than his sister ever was.
post #4 of 25
Thread Starter 
Hm, I was hoping to find out the reason why kids do this.
I have looked on the internet and nothing.
My son's OT thinks it is very important that we fix this.
That is why I was wondering..
post #5 of 25
Meh. Switch to cursive instead, there's lots of good reasons for doing cursive first anyway. That goes bottom to top.
post #6 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by doriansmummy View Post
Hm, I was hoping to find out the reason why kids do this.
I have looked on the internet and nothing.
My son's OT thinks it is very important that we fix this.
That is why I was wondering..
It could be something as simple as wanting to make sure the letter sits on the line, since that's something that is always emphasized in handwriting. I'm curious as to why the OT thinks it's so important to fix? I don't think it'd ever cause him any impairment in everyday life.. which is why I'm pretty slack about it I guess

Quote:
Originally Posted by tankgirl73 View Post
Meh. Switch to cursive instead, there's lots of good reasons for doing cursive first anyway. That goes bottom to top.
lol excellent strategy Ya know I never thought about that... we were taught absolutely must start letters at the top when we learned to write (some 30ish yrs ago here ) and then they turned around and taught us another way to write that requires just the opposite
post #7 of 25
I was going to recommend skipping to cursive too. My ds#1 does this with printing, and I usually just gently remind him that it's easier if he goes top-to-bottom (or if he makes the "o" counter-clockwise) because it's easier to learn cursive, but at this point (7 1/2), we are just skipping straight to cursive as he's much more excited to learn that than to practice any more printing.
post #8 of 25
I've been wondering about this whole handwriting thing lately. We are sort of un-school-ish, in that we haven't used a lot of curriculum things, and I never actually taught my 9 yo to write letters, he just writes by imitating what he knows the letter to be. But I have been feeling a little guilty, like maybe having some more formal practice would help him to write faster, struggle less with it. He is a very advanced reader and very bright, but writing, not so much. He is left-handed though, and he almost always starts at the bottom. I am wondering where to start, if I should get a program like Handwriting without Tears, or start with print, D'Nealian, or cursive, I'm just not sure.

On the one hand, I feel like he'll figure out the way he writes best. As an adult, I don't really write cursive or print unless I am specifically taking my time to write something nicely. Normally, I just write a combination of the two to get the fastest job done, you know?

On the other hand, I know that going through the motions will form connections in his brain that over time will make it easier, so he doesn't struggle with handwriting.

What do you guys think?
post #9 of 25
My daughter is 9 and still does this. Her handwriting is getting better, maybe a little smaller, but I still feel like she doesn't write as well as she could because of it. Her letters that start from the bottom have been big and kind of messy. She's in the middle of finding new ways of writing letters that appeals to her sense of aesthetics, so I'm thinking she'll figure out more efficient ways to write. She also does cursive now. I was 22 or so when my sister showed me a different way to write the letter 9, and I've been writing it that way ever since, so I figure it is possible to change if it seems useful.
post #10 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by A&A View Post
I once read, though, that there is a connection between giftedness and writing letters from bottom to top
Interesting! If you remember where you read this, I'd love more info! Older DD does this, too. Interestingly, my 3 yo does not. I remember one time I showed her for about 5 minutes how to go from top to bottom and she got it right away.
post #11 of 25
Well, I feel my older child is gifted, and he does go from bottom to top to form his letters. This is how he just naturally did it himself, we never taught him any formal handwriting stuff. I actually thought it was because he was left-handed. From the time he could grasp a crayon, he has always been clearly left-handed. And when he would first pretend to "write" (just long squiggly lines) he would start in the bottom right corner of the paper, go to the left and work his way up the page. Exactly opposite.

That's interesting about the gifted theory.
post #12 of 25
I just found this:
http://www.mensa.org.uk/cgi-bin/item...t_news&h=0&f=0

They don't enjoy writing by hand and would rather talk than put things on paper. (Let's face it; writing is so slow when your brain is full of ideas!)

They may appear mature for their age but are often behind with practical skills such as dressing, tying shoelaces, bike riding etc.


This describes my DD perfectly!!! I'm sure there are exceptions, but it seems "normal" for gifted kids, I guess!
post #13 of 25
My ds does this, too. Even after HWT, even after school OT, even after gentle reminders, he writes letters bottom to top. I notice this especially with the letters "o," "i," "l," "t." When he is willing, and wants to practice writing, he will do it correctly because he is copying letter by letter. But when he is writing for another purpose, he reverts back to bottom to top. When he's drawing, he often starts circles and lines at the top - so there's something about writing letters that makes him do this. I have found that if has to spend a lot of time thinking about how to write the letters, he becomes easily discouraged, loses his train of thought, and then abandons what he was working on.

DD who is 4 yo. is starting to do this, too, despite my more focused attention on helping her learn the "right" way to make letters. She, too, will practice top to bottom, but in free writing will revert back to bottom to top.

I don't know if this is the reason they do this, but both of my dc's LOVE to draw and paint -- maybe it reinforces that it doesn't matter how you start, it's the end product that is seen?

I've started a typing program with ds, "Read, Write & Type," primarily to help him to learn how to type, so he can get things out of his head and onto paper faster. It's going very well, and he loves it. He is able to keep his fingers on the right keys, isn't hunting and pecking.

Interesting information on the cursive writing -- I think I might look into that as a more artistic way for the dc's to write.
post #14 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by LauraLoo View Post
Interesting information on the cursive writing -- I think I might look into that as a more artistic way for the dc's to write.
My oldest hates printing but loves cursive. Seems to be a trend!
post #15 of 25
I worked for an attorney once who wrote from the bottom up - he had lovely handwriting too. Didn't seem to be a problem for him at all.
post #16 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mizelenius View Post
I just found this:
http://www.mensa.org.uk/cgi-bin/item...t_news&h=0&f=0

They don't enjoy writing by hand and would rather talk than put things on paper. (Let's face it; writing is so slow when your brain is full of ideas!)

They may appear mature for their age but are often behind with practical skills such as dressing, tying shoelaces, bike riding etc.


This describes my DD perfectly!!! I'm sure there are exceptions, but it seems "normal" for gifted kids, I guess!
I don't think of ds1 as gifted, but that does describe him exactly. I was just thinking this week about the shoelaces and the bike riding!
post #17 of 25
Interesting about the gifted thing... Though *I* never wrote like that lol...

Anyway, I've been cogitating on the reason behind why we're "supposed" to write in one particular direction like that.

I wonder if it has to do with old-style writing implements? ie, fountain pens? I was thinking about writing Chinese characters. They are ALWAYS to be written left to right and top to bottom, and not just in the right direction but the right part of the character which comes next, if you know what I mean. The instruction is *very* specific, for even the most complex characters.

The reason for this has to do with brush strokes. Calligraphy is VERY important in written Chinese. The beginning part and the end part of a brush stroke have different characteristics, different swoops and techniques and stuff. So a single line brushed top to bottom vs bottom to top would look VERY different, when you're using a thick brush.

Similarly, in western writing, which commonly used quill pens then fountain pens... there is a directionality to the writing. If you've ever done calligraphy, you know about this. Fountain pens do NOT write bottom to top! Cursive is different because it's SLANTED... I wonder if that's WHY cursive is slanted, come to think about it... so that it was POSSIBLE to write it with quill pens???

I'm just guessing at this, I don't actually know the history. But it makes some sense, doesn't it? If our original writing tools required top-to-bottom writing for print, then of course that's how the letters would be taught.

With today's ballpoint pens and pencils, which can write in any direction, and have lines which are thin and uniform rather than with thick and thin variations depending on direction... It's not as big a deal. A kid writes bottom to top, the pencil WRITES, so there's no reason to stop doing it that way. A kid 100 years ago would not have developed that habit in the first place, since their pen simply wouldn't write that way.

If I'm right about this, then it's yet another case of continuing a tradition having forgotten the reason behind it, when it's no longer applicable. Like how we continue to start solid foods with our 6mo babies by giving them thin, runny cereal and mushy purees, having forgotten that the REASON we started doing that was because it was being fed to tiny infants not ready to eat solids yet, so they had to be 'tricked' into thinking it was just milk, they couldn't physically handle anything thicker. Babies who ARE old enough for solids can eat SOLIDS, but we're so stuck in the "way that it's done" that we apply the same schedule and method to babies who are at a completely different stage of development.

Anyway, the point is, IF top-to-bottom printing was ONLY because that's what the writing tools DICTATED, then if we're using writing tools without that limitation, it shouldn't matter anymore, and our insistence on it is only for tradition's sake (without even realizing it).
post #18 of 25
I'm in the 'who cares how they write' camp. My kids, for whatever reason, make numbers backwards. Not writing them backwards, but starting with the part on the far right side. It's not as common with letters, but they do go crazy on numbers. Or they do letter crossbars before sticks - they both cross the T before making the vertical line, for example. I think it mess up the spacing between characters, but they seem fine with it. *shrugs* No big deal, but the small bit of me that is OCD just wants to say, "No. Do it THIS way. Just because." I don't, but the temptation is there...
post #19 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by tankgirl73 View Post

Anyway, the point is, IF top-to-bottom printing was ONLY because that's what the writing tools DICTATED, then if we're using writing tools without that limitation, it shouldn't matter anymore, and our insistence on it is only for tradition's sake (without even realizing it).
That is a VERY interesting theory! I mean, it makes a lot of sense! There's part of me that wants to be in the "who cares how they form the letters" camp, and that's where I've been up until now, but then sometimes I have doubts because you hear people say, well, if they learn to formt he letters correctly, they will be able to write more easily and fluently, and that is important to be able to do. But who sat down and figured out, that "XYZ" was the most efficient method for writing a letter? This has just evolved over time! If your theory is true (which it surely has at least something to do with it), it's kind of funny in a way. We do, as a society, hang on to beliefs and traditions looooong past the time they are useful or even true anymore. It would really blow all the handwriting people out of the water to realize that, wow, we don't really have to do it like that???

If the person just figures out for themselves the way that their hand best flows, by just doing it, and figuring it out for themselves, then it seems that they will come to what is the most natural and easiest for them. Do you think?

I write a LOT, I scribble notes all day, I make lists, I take notes for my job, I take notes while reading things for work or pleasure, and I am usually trying to write as fast as I can, especially if I am interviewing someone and trying to keep up with the pace of their speech. I don't use cursive or manuscript or D'Nealian, I use a combination of "joined-up" print I guess I'd call it. Though I did learn both cursive and print formally in school to begin with. So I wonder which way it goes. Learning first, and then adapting to what works for you. Or figuring it out for yourself from the beginning.
post #20 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by tankgirl73 View Post
Anyway, the point is, IF top-to-bottom printing was ONLY because that's what the writing tools DICTATED, then if we're using writing tools without that limitation, it shouldn't matter anymore, and our insistence on it is only for tradition's sake (without even realizing it).
That's really interesting. I thought about the whole "start at the top" thing and realized that there aren't always speed efficiencies. For example, if you write the word cold, the "c" starts at the top, but ends at the bottom. It would be faster to start the "o" at the bottom, which of course would then mean you'd be at the bottom to start the "l" but at the top again to write the "d." I'm not sure if I'm making myself clear, but always starting at the top isn't necessarily time efficient. The theory on old writing tools seems much more plausible.

Quote:
Originally Posted by momofmine View Post
I don't use cursive or manuscript or D'Nealian, I use a combination of "joined-up" print I guess I'd call it. Though I did learn both cursive and print formally in school to begin with. So I wonder which way it goes. Learning first, and then adapting to what works for you. Or figuring it out for yourself from the beginning.
Good question! I also wonder why there is such an emphasis on perfect writing, rather than just legible writing. I can write perfectly, if I want, but it's time consuming. I have a combination style of print and cursive. Everyone can read it and have never had any complaints, so it can't be too horrible! But it's definitely not text book perfect.
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