February 5, 2014

Engineering Day at K-M Elementary!

From infants to preschoolers, writing prep should start early! Humans are not born with the natural inclination to hold writing tools with a proper grip. Believe it or not, the proper pencil grasp actually has a name: the tripod grip. Though the tripod grip is preferred, the quadropod grip is also a common and accepted grip.

The tripod grip utilizes three fingers to secure a writing utensil: the thumb and forefinger directing, with the utensil resting on the middle finger. The quadropod grip uses four fingers working together to stabilize the writing tool. The tripodgrip is the ideal grip for proper letter and number formation and writing, and this grip is a skill that must be modeled, taught, and corrected. When there are too many fingers involved, or if the stance is improper, writing will not be as easy as it can be. And writing is a difficult skill even without the grip!

But how do you teach kids how to properly hold a writing utensil?

1. Before even placing the tool in a child's hand, determine which is his or her “strong hand”: whether the child is right-handed or left-handed. Which hand does the child favor when grabbing a block? Cheerio? Juice box? If it cannot be decided or if it seems like the child does not favor one hand over the other, consider asking a teacher or daycare provider if he or she noticed a preference.

2. When ready to introduce the tripod grip, it's pretty simple: Place a writing tool in the child's hand; then move the fingers to the proper position, encouraging the child to keep the pinky finger and ring finger on the palm so that the fingers can do their jobs.

3. Show the child how to manipulate the tool by moving their fingers more than their wrist. After a child does a bit of doodling, coloring, and painting, the tripod grip will become as easy as breathing. It's just imperative for parents to play an integral role in instructing early on, with demonstrating, correcting, and modeling.

Ideally, we want children to be comfortable writing and a great place to begin to teach them is the proper grip. Now, set out scrap paper and some pencils for children to practice whenever they want. Be a role model, and purposely do some writing within their eyesight. Keeping it positive and having fun will encourage a child to keep writing. Happy Parenting!

Resource: First Steps to Writing: Teach Grip By Amy Mascott

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