Pencil Grip

Written by Leny Grott

When I was in College working on my Bachelor Degree in Early Childhood Education, I remember how important this topic (good pencil grip) was for all my professors.  We spent years learning about child development, learning strategies, muscle strengthening and many other things. 

Holding a pencil or pen properly involves strong finger and hand muscles. A correct pencil grip will allow the writer to move the fingers, controlling the pencil with efficient finger movements.

It is vital to address a weak pencil grip? early, especially if the writer is left handed. If it is not corrected, it can affect speed and fluency and impact academic success, as well as put excessive stress on developing joints causing pain when writing in exams.

Good pencil grip is a key to developing strong readers, writers, and long-term scholars.

As your child grows, they will naturally hold their crayons and pencils in different ways. The way in which your child holds their crayon/pencils depends on how “ready” their shoulder and arm muscles are.

Here are some activities that can help develop fine motor skills.

  • Lacing cards
  • Painting
  • Cutting with scissors
  • Beading necklaces or bracelets
  •  Modeling Playdough
  • Puzzles
  • Use Peg boards
  • Building with Legos
  • Tear construction paper for a collage
  • Use clothespins to pick up objects
  • Threading buttons
  • Wash dishes
  • Popping large bubble wrap
  • Play with sensory bins
  • Playing with musical instruments
  • Button and unbutton buttons, clothing or button board.
  • Zipping and unzipping

Having a good pencil grip takes time and practice, little exercises everyday will help develop small muscles and will help your child when they begin writing.

The consequences of an inappropriately developed pencil grip are the poor formation of letters, the inability to join letters together to form words, lack of speed and endurance, as well as discomfort, pain and exhaustion.

Remember that to have a good pencil grip, children need to practice every day from an early age.  All the exposure they have on small motor skills will go a long way and by the time they turn three years old this progression will be easy for them.  Exposing children to small motor skills prepares them for learning the process of writing, with practice these skills become second-nature to them. 

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