If One Learns to Write Backwards, Can One Then Read Backwards?

based on 15 ratings
Author: Sharon Cooper

Social Science, English


Elementary School/Middle School

Difficulty of Project



Less than $1

Safety Issues


Material Availability

Easily available from the internet

Approximate Time Required to Complete the Project

At least a day



To understand the link between reading and writing 

Materials and Equipment / Ingredients

  • A piece of paper
  • A pencil
  • Two paragraphs printed backwards
  • A willing participant 


Learning to read and write from left to right is a learned skill, and is not universal. Japanese is written and read vertically, while Hebrew text moves from right to left. Therefore many children, when they are first learning to write, end up writing backwards. Since writing depends so heavily on the ability to read, perhaps someone would be able to learn to read backwards if they learned to write backwards. 

Research Questions

If a person learns to write backwards, is that person now able to read backwards? 

Terms, Concepts and Questions to Start Background Research
  • How do you write backwards?
  • What kinds of people read backwards?
  • Is there a special group of people who are able to write both forwards and backwards? 

Experimental Procedure

  1. Learn, yourself, to write backwards.
  2. Find a text and print it backwards. a. Make sure the text is not too well known, or the participants will recognize it. b. In order to print a text backwards, either print it forwards, flip the paper over, and trace the letters on the opposite side, or use Word to flip your letters for you.
  3. Find a group of people to participate in the experiment.
  4. Instruct this group of participants to read the first backwards paragraph aloud. This is your control. a. Keep track of any mistakes they make. b. Time how long it takes them to read the paragraph.
  5. Individually, teach each of the participants to write backwards.
  6. Now have your participants read the second backwards paragraph aloud.
  7. Once more, count their mistakes.
  8. Also, time them while they read the paragraph.
  9. Compare the times and mistakes.


National Association for the Education of Young Children. Learning to Read and Write: What Research Reveals. Reading Rockets. Posted: 2005. Web:

Clement, Linda. Reading Upside Down and Backwards: Learning to Read and How Human Brains “See”. June 28, 2007. Web: reading_upside_down_backwards

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