Pencil Grip Update

February 27, 2007 @ 7:31 am | Filed under:

A while back I posted about Beanie’s preference for gripping a writing implement with her whole fist. She was 5 1/2 then, six years old now, and I wanted to let you know that in these past few months, she has made a fairly seamless transition to using the proper pencil grip without much intervention on my part. All I did was continue to give her occasional (and honestly, "occasional" is code for "infrequent") practice sessions with small pieces of chalk or crayons which forced her to grip with her fingers instead of fist, and she played a lot with the Handwriting Without Tears Magna-Doodle thing I mentioned in that post.

I did not do regular daily handwriting lessons or anything like that, in keeping with my convictions about delaying the beginning of formal studies until age six at the very earliest. I let her keep on coloring her pictures with her fist grip, because she adores coloring and I didn’t want that very pleasant pastime to become a source of frustration for her. A couple of times a week, I asked her to practice her "pencil grip" (our name for the correct hand position, as opposed to "fist grip"), and gradually she switched over. Now she uses the pencil grip almost all of the time when coloring, and always when writing words.

Recently, Rose started working on pretty, swirly cursive writing with the Getty-Dubay Italic cursive book (what eight-year-old girl doesn’t leap at the opportunity to learn fancy writing?), and this got Miss Beanie all fired up to have a handwriting book of her own. I’m seizing the moment, therefore, and she’ll be starting the Getty-Dubay Book A pretty soon.

(A side note about handwriting programs: I have taken a pretty unschooly approach to penmanship, allowing my kids to use workbooks when they wished, but not requiring it. So far, all three girls have wished it. I buy Getty-Dubay Italic for the totally self-indulgent reason that I like the way the writing looks.)

Anyway, just wanted to share the news of Bean’s progress in case anyone else out there was worried about a fist grip. There are some helpful suggestions in the comments of that first post, too.

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3 Reponses | Comments Feed
  1. Jennifer says:

    I’m interested in your approach because this has been such a headache for us. I might try the prettier writing and see if that doesn’t appeal to my little artist.

  2. Laurie says:

    It continues to amaze me when they learn something on their own, even though I do consider myself an unschooler (though I got yelled at today on my message board because I’m not unschoolish enough…ROFL!). I just LOVE to watch that seamless transition into learning something new. It’s also funny that my DS, who has never liked to color or draw at ALL still doesn’t like to write either at 6.5y but my DD (*just* 4yrs) has loved to color from the get-go and writes much more often than DS does. Though I would say their ‘penmanship’ is right on target with their age-peers. 😉 ‘Course it could be just the boy/girl thing too.

  3. Melonie K. (Stop The World) says:

    This is very encouraging to me, too! My Chatty is a leftie, so I have just been happy that her fist grip hasn’t turned into a horrible elbow in the sky, wrist twisted in a painful looking way, type of writing style. A homeschooling friend and I were just discussing this today! I’ve used a pretty infrequent “hold the pen/pencil this way, please” request myself. She’ll be 6 in April, and she swaps off about evenly now. Your post encourages me to just keep on keepin’ on, so to speak. THANKS! 😛