Supporting pencil grip development
Some children may require extra support in learning the technique of holding a pencil in a tripod grip. The following one to one method may be more suitable for them.
The tripod pencil grip step by step guide
- Place a pencil on the table in front of the dominate hand.
- Make a fist with the dominate hand with the thumb tucked in.
- Place the fist palm side down on the table.
- Pop out the thumb from the fist and wiggle back and forth.
- Extend the index finger and tap on the table.
- Move the index finger and thumb together to make a pincer movement like a crab’s claw.
- Flick out the middle finger and curl back slightly so that the outside edge of the thumb rests on it when you use the pincer movement. This will make the hand gently roll over to rest on the outside edge of the curled up little finger and side of the hand.
- The ring finger and little finger stay loosely curled up (holding a cotton wool ball in these two fingers can help keep them in place).
- Place the pencil between the thumb and index finger, about 2cm up from the tip for right-handed writers and about 3cm for left-handed writers, hold in the pincer grip. The thumb being on the side of the pencil, with the pencil resting on the middle finger.
- The main shaft of the pencil should be resting on the hand with the end angled towards the shoulder for right-handed writers and the elbow for left-handed writers.
- You must ensure that the child is sitting correctly, with an appropriate paper position so that the shaft of the pencil can be angled properly.
Hand position for handwriting
We often talk about the most appropriate grip for handwriting being the tripod grip; but this usually only refers to finger position. It is easy to forget the importance of the actual hand position in relation to the pencil and paper for handwriting.
The ideal position is for the hand, wrist and elbow to be below the tip of the pencil and under the writing line for both left and right-handed writers.