Pencil grip development in Key Stage 1

Key Stage 1 (5 - 7 year olds)

The Tripod Pencil Grip is considered the most appropriate grip for handwriting, for both right and left-handed writers, however not all children find this the easiest grip to learn.

It is important to hold a pencil correctly to allows the fingers and wrist to move freely without putting strain on the hand, helping to improve correct letter formation ability and making handwriting a more comfortable experience.

There are 5 Pencil Grip Developmental Stages on the way to developing a good tripod pencil grip for handwriting.

Year 1 (5 - 6 year olds)

As children move from Foundation Stage (4 to 5 year olds) to Year 1 children may be at different pencil grip development stages, this is what we would normally expect:

Year 2 (6 - 7 year olds)

As children move from Year 1 to Year 2 we would expect the majority of children to be at stage 5 in their pencil grip development.

Stage 3 - Four finger and thumb grip

Holding the crayon/pencil between the thumb and four fingers with the crayon/pencil in a nearly vertical, upright position. Movement comes from the elbow and wrist.

Stage 4 - Static quadruped or tripod grip

Holding the pencil in very nearly the correct position however the web space is narrower than it would be if held in a mature tripod grip. This means that the movement is coming from the wrist and large finger movements.

Stage 5 - Mature / Dynamic tripod grip



This is traditionally considered the most appropriate handwriting pencil grip for both left and right-handed writers. Holding the pencil between the thumb and index finger with pencil supported on the middle finger. The ring and little fingers are gently curled inwards. This gives an open wide web space which means the movement comes from the fingers.