Hands on Pencils

Recently I have been reading about pen(cil) holds. There are arguments about this or that finger position on the pen, but so far I see nothing about the quality of the hold. I do see photographs and drawings where even the usually recommended tripod hold shows tense index fingers.

Effective handwriting demands relaxed hands and fingers.

Handwriting is another motor skill. Learn to play a violin; first learn posture, how to place and use the hands and fingers. The same is true for the aspiring chef using knives, a carpenter using a hammer, or for one learning to play golf. The surgeon will be focused on his task but the hold on instruments is relaxed. For handwriting instruction even the semantics are faulty; pencil grip or grasp indicates tension.

Proper teaching of posture and instrument hold is hampered by the rush to learn to write. Children of four and five, or even younger are taught to write, and it’s before their hands are mature enough to hold a pencil. In the school with which I am associated, the Kindergarteners spend twenty minutes a day, first thing in the morning with a variety of finger strengthening activities, all in the effort to develop effective holds.

If you read this blog and have ideas for pre-writing activities, please share them.

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