International Left-handers’ Day

Monday 13th August is International Left-handers’ Day.

Only 10% of people are left-handed. This means that in general the world is geared up for right-handed people, and it means that sometimes left-handed people can feel inadequate through no fault of their own. For years my mum thought she couldn’t slice bread properly. It was always obvious when she’d been the last one to cut a slice off because the remaining loaf would look like it’d been attacked by a wild animal. Then one day we found a shop that sold left-handed knives… It turned out she could slice bread properly after all when she had the right tools for the job. After that we bought her a left-handed cake fork and she carried it everywhere with her because the one she was given in tea rooms always had the cutting bit on the wrong side.

Life isn’t just about bread and cake though. Our writing system is also more favourable to right-handers, and left-handed people often feel clumsy and awkward when they drag their hands through what they’ve just written, smudging it. To avoid this they often adopt a hook position when writing ie they place their hand above the line they are writing on and curve it round. Not only does this make it more difficult to control the pen resulting in writing just as messy as if they’ve smudged it, but it’s also uncomfortable and difficult to maintain for a long period. What’s the solution? First of all make sure they have plenty of space. Never put a left-handed person on the right hand side of the table or they’ll keep bumping into their neighbour. Then get them to adopt a ‘twist the paper not yourself” position. Get them to sit square onto the table. Then twist the book or paper clockwise to about a 45° angle. This way they can keep their wrists straight, as a right-handed person, would and they can see what they have written.

Other equipment that can be difficult for a lefty are scissors and rulers. Most people know that you can get left-handed scissors, but not many know that you can also get left-handed rulers where the numbers start at the other end for all those people who will automatically try to measure lines from the left.

There’s a brilliant online shop I found called . Why not celebrate International Left-handers Day by buying a left-handed gift for the leftie in your life?

G is for…

G is for…Grip. Holding your pen or pencil properly is one of the most important parts of writing. With a correct grip you can control your pen easily without your hand hurting. Not only is holding your pen wrongly uncomfortable, but it makes it harder to write neatly and it will make writing seem more of a chore.

picture showing incorrect grippicture showing correct gripThe correct way to hold a pen is in what is called a “triangle grip”. You hold it between your thumb and first finger, and rest it on your second finger. You might find it helps to use a triangular shaped pencil, or a triangle-shaped grip over your pencil to help get your fingers in the right place. You can also get specially-shaped pens from stabilo with the finger grips marked on to help you place your fingers correctly. There are different ones for left and right-handed people, so be sure to get the correct one.

If you don’t already hold your pen like this it will feel strange at first, but keep practising. Don’t try writing straight away – just doodle or draw to get used to holding your pen in this way. Once you hold your pen properly, your writing will flow. Once your handwriting requires less effort, you will be able to concentrate on your ideas and soon they will flow too.

Related posts: F is for…   H is for…