Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Get a grip!

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!

Other helps:

More Thirsty Thursday tips


Just Jennifer said...

Just stopping by from WFMW to check out your blog. It's pretty spiffy. :) And you have some great articles. I enjoyed reading the couple I looked at. You have officially gotten yourself another daily reader :)

Thanks for havin' me and hope to see you over at my bloggy. Have a great week.

Joy @ Five J's said...

What a great idea to do the exercise. I do something similar when teaching my piano students how to find certain keys on the piano or how to hold their fingers on the keys.