Handwriting - Encouraging proper pencil grip, right OR left

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Re: Finger grip?

Unread post by mlhom4him »

It is developmental. Keep using the finger grip until at least 1st grade or may be second. His grip will get better with time as the muscles in his hand and the parts of his brain that control this mature.

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Re: Finger grip?

Unread post by Cyndi (AZ) »

SarahP wrote:should I work with him on his grip or should I continue to have him use the tri-pod gripper and let it work itself out?
I would think that having him use the tri-pod gripper counts as working on his grip. If it works, use it. (I really wanted to say "if it ain't broke, don't fix it.")
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Pencil grip

Unread post by jasntas »

MuzzaBunny wrote:DD 6 is doing pretty well with her penmanship in general. Her letters are always formed correctly and relatively equal in size. But, I have to remind her 50 times a day to hold her pencil correctly. She uses a tripod grip but she always want to hold the pencil so that it's lying to the front of her knuckle. (Between her hand knuckles and finger knuckles). I was always taught that the pencil should lie behind the knuckle and almost in the soft area by the thumb. When she does that, her first knuckle on her index finger flexes "inside out". Can I just let her do it her way or should I keep reminding her to shift it down? My teachers would have smacked my hand for holding the pencil wrong, and google searches seem to show the position I was taught, but it seems silly to keep forcing the issue. Do you let your little people find their own way?
Both my kids have dyslexia and probably dysgraphia as well so writing has always been tough for them. My ds has an odd pencil grip but his handwriting has become much better just over the last few months. He still has an odd pencil grip even with all my efforts to correct it. I finally decided that if it's comfortable for him and it works, then ok. But I'm no expert.

I have done a few things with both of them that seems to have been successful with my dd. I purchased the 'Ticonderoga Tri-Write Triangular Standard Size Pencils' and both my kids seem to like them. I also purchased 'Pencil Grip The Classics Triangle Grips'. These are triangle shaped pencil grips. My dd really likes these but my ds doesn't. You have to use a proper pencil grip with these so it forces the child to use a proper grip. Both of these items I purchase through Amazon.

Just some ideas. HTH
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Re: Pencil grip

Unread post by SarahP »

One of my 6 year old boys has pencil grip issues and my other 6 year old boy has naturally had a correct grip since he was 18 months old (using crayons).
For my son who has grip issues we use a pencil grip - the kind that has the ergonomic grip with an indentation for the thumb, and a groove for the middle finger and another indent for the pointer finger rather. I get them at at Target and they help him hold the pencil perfectly and improve his penmanship. I don' really care if he holds his pencil the way one is supposed to - except for the fact that using the grip really helps him to have neater handwriting (which IS important) and reduces his hand fatigue.

Now, my brother in law is in his late 20's and has never, ever held his pencil correctly, he has a wacky grip that I have only seen in one other person - a cardiologist. For what it is worth, my brother in law finished college by the time he was 19 and is a crisis counselor and writer. His weird grip made teachers look twice and complain but it has never held him back academically or creatively.
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Re: Pencil grip

Unread post by TriciaMR »


When I hold the pencil the right way, my first knuckle goes inside out too. In fact, I can't hold a pencil with a rounded grip. I think as long as her handwriting is neat and it doesn't hurt her hand, I wouldn't worry about it.

(I say that having two dyslexics, one with VERY messy handwriting, though it is improving - he's left handed too, which adds to our problems.)
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Re: Pencil grip

Unread post by Cyndi (AZ) »

My dd had terrible eczema on her hands when she was 4/5yo and learning to write. The worst area was the middle finger on her right hand, and I couldn't bare making her hold the pencil "correctly" because it truly was painful for her. She's still got a funny grip 6 years later, but her writing is beautiful - far better than mine, especially in cursive. I'm really not sure why we're supposed to force children to all hold the pencil the same way. I say if it works well and there's no complaining from the child regarding hand fatigue, etc., then they're probably just fine. I do think that the arm should be straight, though - that helps prevent carpal tunnel syndrome.
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Re: Pencil grip

Unread post by rebeccal2002 »

My oldest has a weird grip, too and I was never successful at getting her to change it. (She tilts the pencil forward.) She CAN write with the proper grip, but complains it is uncomfortable. She's 13, so I've decided to stop griping at her about it. :) She's doing just fine. I notice that her fingers just aren't as coordinated and it frustrates her to try to do it the "right" way.


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Re: Pencil grip

Unread post by froggiemomof3 »

We use the pencil grips from Target for DS and it has helped him tremendously to hold is pencil properly. They have also helped him to have neater handwriting. My 2 yr old DD can hold a pencil or crayon fine without the grip and has never been shown the proper way to hold them.
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Re: Pencil grip

Unread post by TNLisa »

First let me encourage you! My daughter is a lefty and started off with a terrible grip - and it was difficult to help her because I am right handed. A friend who is an occupational therapist gave us a "start right" pencil grip http://www.therapro.com/Start-Right-Pen ... P4346.aspx. It took some patience on my daughter's part, but eventually her grip began to be more "normal" --- she is soon to be 14 years old, very artistic, and has beautiful handwriting. So don't worry! Try different grips, different style pencils, even slanting the paper certain ways...

Hope that helps!
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Re: Pencil grip

Unread post by Amy C. »

jasntas wrote:My ds has an odd pencil grip....... He still has an odd pencil grip even with all my efforts to correct it. I finally decided that if it's comfortable for him and it works, then ok. But I'm no expert.
rebeccal2002 wrote:My oldest has a weird grip, too and I was never successful at getting her to change it. (She tilts the pencil forward.) She CAN write with the proper grip, but complains it is uncomfortable. She's 13, so I've decided to stop griping at her about it. She's doing just fine. I notice that her fingers just aren't as coordinated and it frustrates her to try to do it the "right" way.
This describes my third ds. He is 8. We have had trouble with his pencil grip from the beginning. At first, I tried and tried to correct it. We used pencil grips and some special contraption I ordered online that was supposed to keep his pencil back and in the right position. It probably would have worked if he would have continued to use it, but he adamently refused. I tried having him hold half of a kleenex in his hand while writing which worked with my older two boys and taught them the proper pencil grip. None of this worked with my third ds. We were both getting very frustrated. One day my oldest ds finally asked, "Can you not just let him hold the pencil the way he wants as long as his writing is good?" I decided from that moment on to choose my battles, and this was not one I was going to win. Occasionally when the pencil is pointing too far forward while he writes, I will remind him to pull it back, but he always goes back to the other way. His handwriting is neat so I just let it go. Not saying that is the best advice, but there came a point with me that it was just not productive to keep riding him about his pencil grip.

I did tell him he could hold the pencil in the way that was most comfortable for him as long as his handwriting was neat. If not, then he would have to correct it. He doesn't write long essays at this point and it may become a problem the more writing he has to do, but I guess we will cross that bridge when we get there.

As a side note: I am not sure we are not dealing with some LD's with him (??? dyslexia, dysgraphia, and whatever else I haven't researched that might fit him), but we have never had him tested. I have just accepted that he functions differently than his brothers, and that I can't expect the same thing from him in the same way his older brothers have done/do them. I am trying to accept who he is and help him as much as I can without making things worse.

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Re: Pencil grip

Unread post by MuzzaBunny »

Thank you so much for all your advice and experiences. :) We have used the training grips which helped at first. They certainly taught her where her fingers need placed, but she still tilts the pencil too far forward, even with them attached. I feel a bit like Amy said - I might need to pick my battles here. I think we'll try another week with the training grip and see if that helps. I haven't gotten the triangular pencils yet but did get the fat "my first" pencils. They were great during kindergarten but she doesn't like them anymore. I asked my neighbor, a former 1st grade teacher, what she thought. She showed me her own pencil grip style (which is not standard) and told me that it won't matter in the long run. I guess we'll have another go with the training grips and see if we can't coax a change.
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Re: Pencil grip

Unread post by Yodergoat »

I know you have already had many responses, but I wanted to add another voice as one who has a VERY odd pencil grip. Every year in public school, the new teacher would try to fix my grip. They each gave up (some in frustration) as the year wore on. I remember one teacher would go to bat for me with the others and say, "Look how she can write... look how she can draw! Let's leave it be!"

If I use a traditional grip, I look as if I'm writing with my off hand. But with my "weird" grip, I can write with good penmanship and can draw well with great detail. Actually, I think that my odd grip helps me to do my artwork, which includes pyrography (woodburning). I once had a business of doing commissioned pet portraits and wildlife art in this media. Now, my grip did cause me problems in oil painting classes (which I took from age 6 to about 15), as I tended to rest my hand on the canvas at times... it got messy. I had trouble using an easel. But that has been the only drawback for me. My art teacher for all those years only asked once about my grip, during my first class, in which she asked if the teachers were bothered by it at school. I told her that they did not like it (I'd been in K and 1st at that time). She reassured me that it was okay and that "it takes all kinds," or something like that. Then when my parents came to pick me up she told them that my grip would be no problem and that many artists she knew had non-standard ways of holding a pencil or brush. (Apparently my parents has asked her in private about it.) My relief was great and I felt much better about myself. The public school teachers had said things like "we need to FIX you" and "we can't let THAT continue" and "no student of mine is going to hold a pencil like THAT" and the like. But Mrs. Villa Hamm, an actual real life artist, said it would be okay! Phew!

My index, middle and ring finger all rest on the pencil, my thumb wraps over them, with the pencil between the middle knuckles of my pinky (where there is a little "nook" for it). I use my pinky as a sort of lever on which to pivot my pencil or pyrography tool, giving me fine control. But from a distance it looks like a toddler grasping a crayon in her fist! (; People sometimes look at my hand when I write, but they can't seem to put their finger on what is different. I remember being at a craft fair, doing my woodburnings as visitors passed by to watch. One individual said, "I tried woodburning when I was young, but it didn't look like that. I didn't know you were supposed to hold the tool that way... that must have been the problem!" I had to explain that this was not the usual way to hold the tool, but I gave her some other tips and encouraged her to go home and try again if she still had her burner. That was probably the first time someone had ever thought that I was holding an art tool the "right" way!

So I'm an advocate of letting it be as long as the writing is neat and her hand is comfortable... as one who "never changed" her odd ways. My own daughter has what I think is a standard grip, but I don't think I would try to change it if it was not standard unless it caused a problem like fatigue or poor writing.

Below is "The Bonobo," pyrography on birch, done with a grip that from a distance looks rather like a bonobo is holding the tool!
bonobo - Copy.jpg
bonobo - Copy.jpg (36.47 KiB) Viewed 6069 times
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