Pencil Grasp in Children

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good pencil grip kids

The pencil grasp (or grip) describes the way a child holds the crayon or pencil. When handwriting is poor, the child’s grip on the pencil is one of the first things that is observed.

However, a mature and efficient grasp of the pencil will only develop if your child's other fine motor skills have developed properly.

Essential Facts

  • A correct pencil grip is one which is efficient and enables your child to write neatly and at a reasonable speed without tiring. The tripod fingers (thumb, middle and index fingers) work together to control the pencil and write neatly.

  • Your child needs to move through various stages of pencil grasp development before a mature 3-finger pencil grip will develop. It is unwise to encourage your toddler or young child to hold a crayon with 3 fingers before he or she is developmentally mature enough to do so.

  • There are 4 Essential Bases for Fine Motor Skills, and if any of these bases is lacking, then your child's grasp and control of the pencil may not develop optimally.

  • Children will resort to all kinds of weird and not-so-wonderful poor pencil grips when their fine motor skills have not developed properly

  • Pencil-and-Paper tasks such as drawing and coloring are NOT the best way to encourage a good pencil grip. Rather encourage your child to do a variety of hand exercises and finger exercises to develop the muscles of the hand. Scissor Cutting is also a good way to strengthen the tripod fingers for future pencil control.

  • A poor pencil grip and messy handwriting can be a symptom of dyslexia.

What Other Visitors Have Said

Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page...

Pencil Held Between Index and Middle Fingers 
I had a student that grasped a straight pencil between his pointer finger and his middle finger. He seemed to have the correct look to his grip by his …

The right age to hold a pencil/crayon to write 
What is the right age for children to start learning to write/hold a pencil or crayon? Someone once told me that children's fingers are not developed enough …

Is it okay to use markers instead of pencils? 
My son (5 years old) has Sensory Processing Disorder as well as a variety of fine motor and gross motor difficulties. We do a lot of hand/finger strengthening …

Shaky hands when writing 
I seem to have several little cherubs, whom, when participating in a manuscript or writing task, experience considerable difficulty owing their hands shaking …

Almost 9-year-old holds pencil like a toddler! 
My almost 9 year old seems to have reverted back to holding her pencil with her whole hand, almost like a fist. What grip should i use to try to help …

When do we recommend pencil grips to teachers? 
A lot of teachers in kindergarten and 1st grade ask for pencil grips. I am not an advocate of this because in kindergarten, kids can still use the strength …

Why should I not correct my toddler's pencil grasp? 
You mention on your website that it's harmful to try to correct a toddler or preschooler's pencil grasp - that is does more harm than good. Can you …

I also have a poor pencil grip and I coped fine! 
My child's teacher says that she has poor fine motor skills. I can see that her pencil grip is really lousy. But I also have a poor pencil grip, and I …

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