Should I insist she hold a pencil the "right" way? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 18 Old 02-07-2002, 10:22 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Do you let your kids hold the pencil or pen any way they want? I tried to get DD (4 yo)to hold her pencil the "right" way (the way I do!) and she would have none of it. She grabs it in her fist, and does pretty well that way. I am tempted to leave it alone, but fear she may get into a bad habit.

We also use regular size pencils and pens, always have. Do those big horse-leg sized pencils help kids write better? Has anyone seen a difference when using the bigger ones?
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#2 of 18 Old 02-07-2002, 04:36 PM
 
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I think it is important that kids learn to hold the pencil the right way because if they don't, their hand writing will be horrid and they may have trouble with spelling (studies have actually shown this, as odd as it sounds).

Four is very, very young for writing. Many kids aren't developmently ready to write until they 6 or 7 or even older. You could try using a pencil grip to make it easier for her to get her fingers in the right spots. You could find one at a teacher supply store or a office supply store. My kids don't like the big big pencils, but yours might. Other than that, I would minimize how much time she spends on these kinds of activities so that she doesn't form bad habits. I think that doing something like practicing letter or number writing with the pencil held wrong is waste of time, and there are so many other wonderful educational things that a four year old can do that don't require a pencil at all.
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#3 of 18 Old 02-07-2002, 07:00 PM - Thread Starter
 
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But hey, Linda, we're just doing the Singapore math workbook, which YOU said was one of the two best programs out there.

DD has liked writing for a long time, so I don't think there is any stopping her. It's amazing how legible her writing is considering they way she holds the pencil. Guess I'll try that grip thing, I've never seen one, but I've never looked either!
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#4 of 18 Old 02-07-2002, 08:10 PM
 
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My dd loves to write too. She can't hold a pencil correctly to save her life. We found some big tri-angle pencils thet really help. They are red and I think the name is T-rex. She prefers the sparkly pink and lavender pencils she got for Christmas. We alternate.

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#5 of 18 Old 02-07-2002, 08:46 PM
 
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IMHO at age 4-6 they mainly fist. Desn't matter if you buy fat pencils or triangular crayons.
You can do prewriting tasks to work on grip, for example wringing a sponge with water transferrring from one bowl to another, clothespins around a basket rim, transferring beans using a spoon, pouring water w/ a small pitcher, toast or sugar tongs to fill an empty ice cube tray with small squares of cut-sponges, clay or play-doh, painting with q-tips and watercolors, tweezers vs field corn, etc...
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#6 of 18 Old 02-08-2002, 12:42 AM
 
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I think Singapore is great. I didn't have DD #1 start doing workbooks until she could hold a pencil correctly. DD#2 can't hold a pencil correctly so she doesn't do workbooks. I don't see any big conflict. There are so many hands on things to do that there isn't any reason to hurry into paper math.

This is your child and you should do whatever feels right to you.
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#7 of 18 Old 02-08-2002, 04:17 PM
 
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pcjen, I had a conversation with my mother-in-law recently about this (who is a Kumon instructor). She said that in the "old days" holding a pencil was a specific skill that was taught to promote not only good handwriting, but ease for small muscles in the hand. I would try to gently lead your child to holding the pencil the right way. I have triangular pencils from Kumon that are a bit fat and look perfect for little hands. Maybe you could find something similar in a teacher's store (or see if there is a local Kumon Center where you could purchase some).

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#8 of 18 Old 02-09-2002, 03:31 PM
 
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I have a dd who just turned 5, she loves to write, but I have no idea if she is holding the pencil the "right" way. What is the right way? Personally I wouldn't worry abt it.
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#9 of 18 Old 02-10-2002, 03:43 AM
 
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I'm 33 and have always held my pens the wrong way...didn't realize it til high school...

I have good penmanship and graduated summa cum laude....I don't think it matters....

but then I speak from my own experience only and have no expertise on the subject
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#10 of 18 Old 02-10-2002, 07:22 AM
 
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4 seems so young to worry about this. Her enjoying using the pencil is something that I think is more important at this stage.

So, forcing / insisting, is inadvisable. Suggesting, or showing her how you do it every-now-and-then may offer her insite at the time she is ready.

Sorry to see Kumon's tenticles have reached US shores, but then I should not be surprised I suppose.

Hope this helps

a

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#11 of 18 Old 02-10-2002, 01:27 PM
 
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My oldest started out in the public schools. Until we started homeschooling this year, he didn't hold his pencil correctly. He says besides me, the only teacher at school who taught him (I think forced was the word he used...LOL) Was the teacher who taught his talented and gifted class. My theory there was she only had 8-10 kids at a time, where the classroom teacher had 24 or more.
Anyway, I digress. I do think it's important that they hold the pencil correctly, but I also think 4 is too young to "worry" but to gently correct her. I have seen an improvement in my son's penmanship...could also be that we work on it more then they did in PS, too....
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#12 of 18 Old 02-10-2002, 03:39 PM
 
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A yahoo group I'm in just had this discussion. It turned out a member does remedial work with children in schools as a profession, and had gobs of info. Points I remember: several different grips are ok -- there isn't just one approved grip; what is important is what muscles are used (i.e., is the writing motion coming from her wrist? long term that would be tiring; the small muscles of the hand should be used, the shoulder and arm relaxed). The Montessori-type exercises mentioned above by Vanna's mom are helpful. She also had kids grip a small button to the palm using the ring and pinky to help remind them to keep those fingers tucked in. She advocated the Handwriting Without Tears program (I think the business of having the kids practice making the letters with a wet sponge on slate was part of the appeal -- sort of like the sandpaper letters or writing them in fingerpaints or whatever). And, most of all, 4 is young for most kids to do this well.

She also had much to say about scissors. It was interesting.
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#13 of 18 Old 02-10-2002, 07:17 PM
 
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My 4 year old son does the same thing. But, honestly I am not worried. After all, how many times do we do things how we can do them until we are able to do them differently. Think about toddlers and spoons, forks and the like.

I hear what you are saying. My mother always chastises me for not "teaching" him the correct way-- which by the way, I have, but he is not interested yet. I think that that is the key word-- "yet." He will do it when he is able and ready. Right now he loves to use chalk on the chalkboard and erase with ease. Last week he wrote " I love you " all on his own when I was having a hard day. ( I took a picture ).

Granted my son is very young, too, but think about our progression with skills-- it is very rare that we are able to just jump right in with the correct form. Don't most skiers start off with basics on the bunny hill? Just make it fun and praise them often-- learning is fun not perfection
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#14 of 18 Old 02-11-2002, 04:25 PM
 
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I haven't had this problem so I can't speak from experience but I have heard that doing hand work exercises to strengthen the small muscles of the fingers and hands can help. When my dd was 3 and 4 we did a lot of finger knitting (finger crochet really) to work on these muscles. I also had her sew buttons and do loom work. This is kind of a waldorfian concept. She moved on to simple knitting but still hasn't quite perfected that. If your dd is interesting in sewing or other types of hand work you might want to try that. I would agree with others that it shouldn't become a huge worry yet.

BTW, I have one of those cushy pencil grips and my dd wasn't a big fan of it but using it for about a week actually did seem to get her to grip the pencil properly. (I'm lefty and she's righty so I wasn't sure how it would look to her following my example; it didn't seem to matter though) I ordered it from Sycamore Tree. It's soft, unlike those triangle hard plastic things you seem to find most often in stores. However, I have seen them at one teacher's store. Good luck.
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#15 of 18 Old 02-11-2002, 05:48 PM
 
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How funny is this? My 4 yo wanted me to show him the way to hold a pencil today and decided that this was easier to write this way.
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#16 of 18 Old 02-16-2002, 12:39 AM
 
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Actually some odd pencil holds can be a sign of dislexia.

I would go for the pencil grips. She is really on the young side of writing skills/fine motor skills.

My 3 yr old uses the triangular shaped ones mention. She just does not have the fine motor skills to use a small pincle.

How they hold the pencil can matter very much. If they are doing it fisted they can not have control over writing.

My son 7 was allowed in Public School to do it what ever way for K. Now I have had to work with him because his writing was horrible. Come to find out that all the kids in his K teachers class had to have some sort of remedial writing training. These kids writing were no were near the others.

We use multi-colored line paper and pencil grips. His looks like little balls that have indents were he is suppose to put his fingers.

I would use the triangler ones first. She might not be able to do it developmentally. I would not worry too much.
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#17 of 18 Old 02-16-2002, 12:44 AM
 
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Silly Willies,
Where do you get the multi-colored lined paper?

Queen Quen,
What did she say about scissors?
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#18 of 18 Old 02-16-2002, 01:08 AM
 
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teaching supply store. It was a little more expencive than the other but it was well worth it.
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