Teachers: 4 Tips To Help Left-Handed Children Succeed In Your Classroom

Do you have any left-handed students in your classroom? If so, have you taken into consideration the fact that they may struggle in an environment tailored to right-handed children? Read on for 4 tips to give the little lefties of the world an equal opportunity at learning.

Add a Table To Your Classroom

Studies reveal that left-handed students consistently produce lower cognitive test scores than right-handed children. Why? Because the bent and twisted way in which the children have to sit to write puts them at a disadvantage.

Many schools use right-biased desks in their classrooms. When a left-handed child sits at one of these desks and tries to write, their dominant hand has no support as it pushes across the page. The lefties often try to twist and contort their bodies to provide their dominant hands with some support, resulting in added strain on their shoulders, necks, and backs. The discomfort the left-handed children encounter can make it difficult to concentrate and difficult to complete their work in a timely manner.

You could request the school you work at provide a left-biased desk or two for your classroom, but should you get 3 lefties, one of them will still be struggling. A better idea is to add a table so that you can count on being able to accommodate up to 4 or 6 lefties at a time. 

Rebind A Few Workbooks

Unlike right-handed children who pull the pencil across the page when writing, left-handed students push the pencil across the page. In doing so, their left hand rests uncomfortably on the spine of the book, and is nearly constantly in the way of the view of what they have already written. This makes it difficult for the child to perform correct penmanship techniques. 

When your classroom workbooks arrive, take a few to your local office supply store and ask them to be rebind them so that the spines are switched to the right-hand sides. As long as the books have a right-side margin, this will work just fine. The spine will no longer be in the way of the children's hands, and with a little rotation of the book, the children will be able to see what they've previously written as they work.

Request Harder Pencils

Since lefties' hands glide over the letters they have already written as they proceed across their papers, smudging is a huge problem. These children can try their best to produce perfect penmanship only to be left with a smeared mess of graphite. 

Switching to pencils with slightly harder graphite than the standard number 2s can fix this problem. Don't go too hard, though; the mark left behind by the pencils will be lighter with harder tips. A hardness of 2 1/2 or 3 should provide ample smudge-resistance while still keeping your students' writing dark enough to read.

Make Use Of Tailored Office Supplies

When lefthandedchildren.org polled its members, they found that only 44 percent of left-handed students were provided with scissors designed to be left-hand dominant. Eighty-eight percent of respondents felt that schools needed to give more consideration to the trials and tribulations left-handed students face in the classroom. There are all kinds of office supplies specifically tailored to be easier and more ergonomically correct for those that favor their left hand -- the problem lies in getting schools to purchase and use them.

So many things in your classroom are designed to make learning easier for right-hand children. Help the lefties of the class succeed by giving them a proper place to sit and do their work, taking the extra step to rebind the workbooks they'll be using all year, buying harder pencils, and talking to your school's budgeting committee about implementing more lefty-friendly office tools and supplies into your classroom.