Pencil grasps come in as many varieties as personalities. In studying the topic, and discussing it with various teachers and homeschool moms, I heard from many people that some grips need correcting and some don't.
Now, my youngest child is only four years old, so I'm not stressing about this, but I do want him to start getting comfortable with an efficient pencil grasp. Without any direction, he picks up a pencil and holds it like this:
Wow! And, it has really continued to get worse. So, we started spending some time on improving it.
Homeschool kids potentially have an advantage over kids in a classroom in this arena. Most teachers could not even spend five minutes in a one-on-one exercise like this, but at home, we can do that. Obviously, for kids in a school setting, parents can do this at home perhaps more easily than a classroom teacher could. And, when establishing or correcting a pencil grip, you need immediate feedback, correction, and reinforcement.
This might not need work everyday depending on how much your child writes. And, many children eventually move to a more efficient grasp naturally by kindergarten or first grade. Others could benefit from a little nudge in the "write" direction.
Here is how our time looks . . .
- Nathan and I sitting alone together, me on his right side since he favors his left hand, and this affords me a clearer view of his pencil grasp.
- We get the grip in place on the pencil and talk about where the fingers go
- The pencil sets next to the paper. I say, "On your mark, get set, go!"
- Nathan picks up his pencil (accuracy is more important than speed, but the race atmosphere keeps him excited to try again). We adjust the grip as necessary.
- He draws one line, straight down on his handwriting paper.
- Pencil gets returned to table next to his pad of paper.
- CLAP! and, repeat. He still needs to loosen up a bit, but that improves with time as well.
We have only done this a few times, and he gets quicker and quicker each time, needing less correction as we go. Such a simple activity. Five minutes a day is really plenty of time. Even twice a day if they will enjoy it.
Aside from that, I do not spend too much time correcting his grasp. It has shown gradual improvement from just these short times spent working on it.
This is definitely working for us!
- I found this interesting drawing site with some unique pencil grips for sale.
- Some tips to build your arsenal of pre-writing activities for gross and fine motor skills
- More activities and some explanation of pencil grips
- They even make triangular pencils
- And, I have to mention this site for lefties, since my two youngest fall in that camp
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