Shelagh Robinson Mirror Read Blog 45: Reading Backwards Talent


My eye was caught by this message on a recent Tumblr thread – of course I had to stop to read it. What kind of incredible talent could reading backwards indicate?

“Reading backwards is an incredibly …
pointless talent to have.”

What? Woah. Point-ful is more like it.
Intrigued by such blatant mischief I scrolled down to learn who was behind this controversy- perhaps an agent provocateur?

I then read the comments and had to smile.  Fantastic!

So many people had come to the defense of mirror reading – it was heartwarming, and very interesting to read the conversations and repartee.
There was also the occasional sarcastic comment which drew funny rapid fire responses and ready support for backwords talents.

In fact, I found that this message had been reposted all over the web – with consistent retorts across the board.
Outrage, controversy and heated assertions… And lots of shouts out to the talent that is mirror reading – clearly an aptitude that some people are much better at than others, and one that is strongly linked to right-brain spatial abilities. It was inspiring to immerse myself in their words.

Thanks LauraJul, whoever you are, for stirring the pot. Here I repost some of the discussion.

John M says:
Its not pointless if you’re left handed and your name is Leonardo.

Lauren says:
I felt proud of myself until I got to the last part… hah!

Pinon C says:
It’s handy for reading in mirrors and windows without turning your head. Private investigators everywhere weep.

Lonnie says:
Thank you for stoking my ego. I can also write upside down and backwards. I never really considered it a talent. I just got bored one day in class and started writing that way.

Chris K says:
I am bizarrely talented. (Decoding this statement) dropped my reading speed to probably around 25-30% of normal, but still very readable.

Steve says,
That’s not reading backwards. That’s reading *forwards* right to left.

shut up says:
Literally everyone that can read forwards can read this backwards. You are not bizarrely, or even normally talented. You can read.

Tess E says:
Seeing patterns is a built-in ability, and those who can read backwards are just better at it than most. There are many ideas about the importance of recognizing patterns, some of which aren’t just hang-overs from when we were prey animals ourselves.

Laura says:
Can do. Developed when I wanted to know the answer to the Encyclopedia Brown mystery but didn’t have a mirror handy.

tiggy says:
Many ways to train your brain. These things are not as useless as they might seem. Every challenge you put your brain go through makes it faster and better. :)

Your thoughts?
Let me know:

9 Responses to Shelagh Robinson Mirror Read Blog 45: Reading Backwards Talent

  1. Allison says:

    I read backwards. Feels like an obsession

  2. I read backwards too

  3. brian carruthers says:


    I discovered I could write and read backwards when i was in university, just after a serious head injury. I am left handed, an engineer, and creative…..not sure if there are any connections.


    • shelagh says:

      Hi Brian,
      Thanks so much for commenting – you have an interesting perspective.I am curious to know if you think your mirror skills predates your injuries? You lefties are special – and likely better at the MR Headline News game…Please let me know.

  4. Lisa Smith says:

    I’ve always been able to do this. I’m 59. I know of no one else who can. A few can, but it takes several minutes. I read the above in about a second! So funny!!!

  5. Robert says:

    I am always in trouble when entering a glass door and I do not know if it opens forward or backwards. I can read if it is PUSH or PULL but I do not know which side it is written :)

  6. Tom Aparo says:

    Does anyone actually have difficulty reading mirror writing? I hear generalizations about how difficult and rare it is but no statistics stating what portion of the population has trouble with it. I can do it and don’t think I have ever met or heard of someone who can’t. Then again I never asked.

  7. Savannah says:

    I’m only 15 and this was easy to read, I used to write notes to my friends like this to see if they could figure them out in class until they got annoyed. It’s actually really easy to read, and kind of fun. I made my mom do it and she was so confused!

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