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Why kids write letters backward

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Channel: Vox
Categories: Psychology  
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Almost all kids will mirror write at some point. Why?

*Our in-studio shoot with other Vox team members was done before the Covid-19 outbreak. We are currently safely working from home.*

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If you work with (or have) kids under 7, you might notice that a handful of them flip letters, or sometimes entire words,when writing. Its a little creepy to look at and reminiscent of Danny from The Shining but its entirely normal.

Our minds are exceptionally good at saving space when necessary. Sitting in a classroom, you probably wont notice the consistent buzz of a heater unless you focus on it. Our eyes do something similar when it comes to orientation. This is because in the natural world, the direction something is facing doesn't really matter all that much. This allows us to identify and recognize objects quickly. It's a truly efficient way to think.

Except, when it comes to letters and numbers, where orientation *does* matter. In many ways, the written word is a completely unnatural system for our minds. The reverse of "b" turns it into a "d." Why is 3 left-facing when 5 and 6 are right-facing? Its confusing because our minds dont pay too much attention to orientation, and to get the alphabetic system right we need to.

If you're interested in learning more, check out these links:

DaVinci was also famously known for mirror writing:

Ancient languages can show how humans initially tried other methods that might have made more sense. For example, the ancient language of boustrophedon altered the direction of the letters and script every line is a news website that helps you cut through the noise and understand what's really driving the events in the headlines. Check out

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