While I believe that pencil grips for kids cannot really improve handwriting on their own, there is a place for using a pencil grip or gripper as part of an overall program to improve a child's handwriting skills.
The aim of a "proper" pencil grasp is to be able to hold and use the
pencil in such a way that is not tiring, and enables the child to carry
out age-appropriate writing tasks with ease. Hopefully this page will help you decide if your child will benefit from using a pencil grip, and if so, which one.
Once a child's fine motor skills have improved through the use of fun activities, I will sometimes make use of a pencil grip to train the fingers to hold the pencil more comfortably. The aim is to get the child to hold the pencil comfortably so the fingers can easily form the letters for smooth handwriting.
These are the factors I consider:
This was the first really effective pencil grip I used in therapy and was way better than the "stetro" pencil grips for kids which were the standard issue at the time.
In the pictures below, the boy had a rather rigid grasp and was not really comfortable with writing tasks. His fine motor skills had already improved from a very dysfunctional pencil grasp, but I wanted to give him the extra boost with a pencil gripper.
He found "The" pencil grip gave him more control over the thin pencil, and he happily used it for a long period after intervention ended. Many children who have used this pencil grip, have commented that it helps their hands feel less tired.
These grippers come in two sizes - regular and Jumbo, so try out both to see which suits your child more. Even adults find them comfortable! You can find these pencil grips for kids#Ad on Amazon.
If a child has a "wrapped thumb", where the thumb tends to curl over the top of the pencil and/or the index finger, then the Start Right Grip, or the CrossOver Grip may help.
Some kids find them really comfortable, and they can help alleviate the "death grip" that some kids display on their pencils!
Personally, I do find that these are only effective if given after at least a couple months of hand and finger exercises. Often, these kids need to do a quick fine motor exercise before a handwriting task. Otherwise, their stubborn fingers just curl over the grip!
However, if you have been working on fine motor skills, with your child, and feel that he/she just needs a little reminder to hold the pencil more carefully, then these grips can be very useful. They are relatively inexpensive, so it is worth getting them to try out.
If you give a pencil grip to kids without working on their fine motor skills, they are likely to just keep using their poor grasp over the pencil gripper! Kids with poor fine motor skills often find pencil grips uncomfortable.
When you think about it, most poor pencil grips are a child's way of compensating for a lack of skills elsewhere. You can read more about the Essential Bases for fine motor development to see if your child needs to work on any other skills first.
However, if you are concerned about your child's pencil grip, or if it is interfering with your child's ability to write neatly and efficiently, please request an occupational therapist evaluation! Pencil grips for kids are NOT a substitute for therapy!
If your child just needs some encouragement and extra exposure to develop a better pencil grip, then try some of the fine motor activities on my site:
Need some help getting started helping your child with pencil grip issues? Here are a few that may help you:
Do you want all my pencil grip information in an accessible format?
My printable E-Book download gives you all the information contained in my pencil grip pages, with lots of photos and explanations.
This printable resource aims to help by answering common questions that teachers and parents have about how a child should hold a pencil.
I also include a pencil grip checklist to help you analyze your child's pencil grip!
Do you want practical activities to help develop your child's fine motor skills with everyday resources?
Are you tired of lists of suggestions that don't show you HOW to do the activities?
My Fine Motor Activities download will give you lots of helpful information as well as more than 24 pages of photographed activities to help support your child's fine motor skills!
You can find a range of pencil grips developed by The Pencil Grip, Inc.#Ad on Amazon.
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