Teaching Proper Pencil Grip To Develop Or Improve Handwriting: How To Improve Handwriting With Kids

When learning to write, some children have difficulty developing proper pencil grip. Holding a pencil with proper grip and strength can make a big difference in a child's handwriting. Parents and teachers can use strategies to help children improve how they hold their pencil and the overall appearance of their handwriting.

The proper way to hold a pencil is called the "tripod grip." The tripod grip is the best way to use hand muscles when writing. The child holds the pencil with their thumb and index finger, while the pencil rests on their middle finger. See an image of the tripod grip at Google Images (search "tripod grip").

Once a child has learned an improper grip, it can be difficult to teach them to use the tripod grip. Some children learn the tripod grip naturally, while others need help from parents and teachers. It is recommended to teach the tripod grip when a child learns to write her or her own name, generally around age 5.

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What You Should Know When Teaching the Tripod Grip:
The child should not be gripping the pencil too tightly. Signs a child is holding a pencil too tightly include:

-Rips in the paper
-Pencil tips frequently breaking
-White knuckles when writing

The child's fingers should be relaxed so her hand will not tire too quickly. Specifically, observe the index finger knuckle for signs of redness or whiteness which would indicate pressure on the joint. Also ensure your child is not making a fist.

For children who consistently hold the pencil too tightly, make a fist, or put pressure on the joint of the index finger, have them hold a small ball of clay or tissue, a small rubber ball, or a penny in their palm, with their ring finger and pinkie, when they write. This should help relax the grip.

Ensure the grip is close to the tip of the pencil. Holding the pencil too far back allows for less writing control.

To ensure correct positioning of your child's body when writing, check that she is sitting with his feet flat on the floor and her bottom in the center of the chair's seat.

Keep in mind that some children have significant difficulty sitting this way for long. While it is best to encourage this posture, do not stop a writing lesson if a child struggles to sit this way. Just do the best you can to encourage them.

The child should use her free hand to hold the paper in place as she writes. For children who have trouble holding the paper, you can tape the paper to the table.
Let your child choose and practice the tripod grip with different writing tools such as pens, markers, crayons, pencils, and coloring pencils.

Another great tool to practice writing and pencil grip is the stylus for the iPad, specifically the Kidori Children Stylus Pen.

Although some parents have complained about it's durability, the Kidori Children Stylus Pen is recommended by experts in hand muscle control or fine motor control, as the best stylus for working on pencil grip with children.

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Many children who do not like to practice handwriting the traditional way, are eager to practice with writing apps on the iPad, such as the School Writing App and the Kidori App.

Additional Strategies:

-Try using a rubber band. This is an effective strategy for some children. A rubber band helps keep the pencil in place, while allowing the pencil to slant naturally. Twist the rubber band once around the pencil and then around the child's wrist. Search Google Images to see a picture of how to do this.
-Encourage frequent practice through writing, drawing, or both
-Sessions should be short (5 to 10 minutes for younger children or children who get easily frustrated and 10 to 15 minutes for older children or children who can work for longer periods without frustration)
-Let your child know when they are putting forth good effort or making progress with their skills (e.g., you worked hard on your writing today, you have been practicing hard, you wrote very nicely today).
-Let your child know how they can improve (e.g., try pressing a little lighter, open up your fist, move your fingers closer to the tip, etc.)
-Do your best to make sessions fun for the child so they want to practice again. Let them make choices such as what writing tool to use and what to write or draw. Obviously they may not have these choices during homework, so have additional practice sessions that allow for choice making
-If you are a teacher, give your students choices within the classroom or for homework as much as possible. Research shows that children are more eager and willing to participate when they have some choice and flexibility within the activity
-Remember to always stay calm when working with a child or student, even if you think they should be getting something that they are not getting. If you get frustrated with them, they may start to feel anxious, angry, inferior, stupid, etc. which will lead to a less productive learning session.

For children who have significant difficulty developing the tripod grip after consistent guidance and practice, try using tools to assist your child with grip development.Two highly rated tools by parents, educators, and specialists are The Pencil Grip Writing CLAW and the Triangle Pencil Grips. Do a Google search for more specific information on these items.

Since not every tool will work for every child, you will find some mixed reviews on these products; however, The Pencil Grip Writing CLAW and the Triangle Pencil Grips, both have positive ratings overall.

Side-Note: * Some children naturally develop the quadropod grip. With the quadropod grip, the child uses the thumb, index finger, and middle finger, with the pencil resting on ring finger. Too see the tripod grip, search Google Images "tripodgrip."

The quadropod grip is also an acceptable grip. If a child develops the quadropod grip naturally and is using it effectively, there is no reason to change their grip. Additionally, if a child has trouble developing the tripod grip after trying different strategies and practicing consistently, you could try teaching them the quadropod grip. All the same strategies listed above should be utilized when teaching the quadropod grip.

Keep in mind that every child is different. Some respond to several strategies, others respond to a few, while others may not respond to any of these strategies. If your child is significantly struggling with pencil grip or other fine motor skills (e.g., using scissors, buttoning, zipping, using utensils, picking up small objects, etc.) despite consistent practice and guidance, inform your child's school and/or doctor. They should be able to get a specialist involved such as an occupational therapist to determine what might be interfering with your child's fine motor progress and what additional strategies might help.

Pay Close Attention Here-

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There are many reasons why you may be afraid to teach your child to read at home. If you are home schooling your child, you will naturally experience this fear.

Undertaking your child's education and thus balancing their future in your hands can be a very daunting experience for any parent. However, this fear doesn't have to paralyze you and can in fact be a good thing.

By addressing your fears one by one you can empower yourself and succeed in your most challenging undertaking to date - teaching your child to read at home.

To begin with, the first fear you will probably encounter is:

I'm not qualified to teach

Well, in most instances this claim is absolutely true. Most parents who choose to home school their children, or even home school preschool their children are not "qualified" teachers.

However, contrary to what many may say, there is no-one more qualified than a child's parent or guardian to teach them things.

Firstly, you have taught your child everything they know to date.

Secondly, there is no-one in this world who knows your child better than you. You know their temperament, their learning style and what motivates them.

And thirdly, no-one cares about what happens to your child, or has as much invested in your child's future success, than you do.

These three things alone make you more qualified to teach your child to read than anyone else out there.

So, the first idea to think about is this:

"If one person can do it, then anyone can do it."

There are thousands of parents around the world who are at this very moment home schooling their children, and all of them have at some stage had to teach their child to read.

Most of these parents are not qualified teachers, yet they have been incredibly successful in teaching their child to read. In fact I know of many parents who have no formal education themselves, who have successfully taught their children to read.

You too do not need a lot of teaching ability to teach your child to read. Learning is a natural process for children and they do it easily. All they need is a little guidance along the way.

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The second fear you will probably encounter is:

I don't know where to start

The first place to start is to make the decision that you will teach your child to read.

Next, set a goal for you and your child, that you want them to be able to read a book by themselves within a set period of time. This can be any period from 1 to 3 months (it generally shouldn't take longer than this).

Next, set a time for you and your child to have a reading "lesson". Choose a time when you know that your child's energy is highest. You want this to be fun for your child, so choose a time when they are most energetic and are not busy with anything else (don't call them to read when they're playing their favourite game for example).

The third fear you will probably encounter is:

I don't have a system

This one is easy to resolve.

Find a step by step method that will guide you through this process. There are endless systems available on the Internet.

My advice to you would be to do your homework and find a system that suits you and your goals. The system you choose does not have to be complicated either, the simpler the better.

My personal preference is always to get information from someone who is in exactly the same position as me. For example, I am a mother who is home schooling her children, running a business and a home, and I am also a wife who loves to spend time with her husband. I also have a number of personal interests that I prefer not to neglect either.

When I am looking for a system to assist me in some area of my life, I look for a system created by a person who is similar to me. In this way I feel that I am getting a system that will suit me because this person completely "gets" where my needs are coming form.

They have gone through what I am going though and they completely understand my needs.

Of course your preferences may be very different from mine, and this is why with a bit of research you can find exactly the system that suits both you and your child.

My recommendation is to try out a system that is not time consuming, will be easy for you to implement and incorporates a holistic approach that encompasses both phonics and sight reading for maximum results and benefits

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Learning to read is one of the toughest and most important tasks a young child faces. A child's successful accomplishment of this feat is one of the strongest indicators of future success--and a child's struggle with reading is one of the strongest indicators of future failure. There are many things that parents can do to help ensure that their child is successful when learning to read and one of the keys is making sure that rhyme is a part of your child's early life. There are three important reasons why rhyme is important to learning to read.

One key reason why rhyme is important is that it is fun. Playing with rhyme is learning but because it is just that -- playing -- children are willing to spend a lot of time rhyming and learning more about rhyme. This makes rhyme a great teaching tool and a great motivator for learning. Rhymes are easier to learn and remember than non-rhymes and that is why many learning tools for older children and adults still include rhyme.

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Rhyme is important to emergent literacy and learning to read because it teaches children about the language. Rhyming helps children learn about word families such as let, met, pet, wet, and get. Rhyming also teaches children the sound of the language. Other important skills include phonological awareness, the ability to notice and work with the sounds in language. Rhymes help children with phonemic awareness, which is the knowledge that phonemes are the smallest units of sounds that make up words. This awareness leads to reading and writing success.

Rhyme also teaches children who are learning to read about the patterns and structures of both spoken and written language. Songs and rhymes expose your child to the rhythm of the language. This will help them read with some animation in their voice instead of just a monotone. Rhyme also prepares children to make predictions while learning words and gives them crucial decoding skills.

While learning to read is difficult and challenging for most children, rhyme can help make the task both easier and more fun, teach important language skills, and teach language patterns and structure. These three benefits are important reasons to make rhyme a part of your child's early childhood.

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Learning to read is a long process, but it doesn't have to be a difficult process. Broken down into intuitive and logical steps, a child as young as two years old can learn to read, and older children can accomplish even more. For a simple, step-by-step program that can help your child learn to read - Click Here

When phonics becomes automatic fluent reading takes place and comprehension naturally follows. Only one component of reading, phonemic awareness or the ability to hear different sounds in words, is more important than phonics in teaching reading to students. Knowing how to teach the phonics alphabet forms a bridge that connects oral language to written language.

Someone who has no training may feel inadequate in how to teach the phonics alphabet to their child(ren) but it is not as difficult as you might think. Even if you have been taught to read by sight, there are many programs available with audiotapes demonstrating the sounds of letters, consonant blends, consonant diagraphs and vowel diphthongs. Listening to the tapes repeatedly ingrains the sounds into your head and assists you in teaching them to your child(ren). The tapes along with flashcards of the letters that make up particular sounds or phonemes is really all you need to teach your child the foundation of all reading, phonics which is really associating the auditory sound with the visual forms of a letter or group of letters.

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There is a definite order of progression in how to teach the phonics alphabet. First teach the individual sounds of the letters then have students blend the sounds together into short words. Next teach long vowel sounds in vowel diagraphs such as /ee/, /ai/, /oa/. Afterward teach the long vowel rule where the vowels are separated by a consonant or group of consonants like in the words bake, fine, stone and tune. With this foundation your child will be reading many words and be able to spell them too. More advanced phonics consists of consonant blends (ex. tr, pl, nd, ck and st), diagraphs (ex. ch, th, ph and sh) and vowel diphthongs (ex. oi, oy, ow, ou, ough and igh).

Learning how to teach the phonics alphabet can be fun for you and for your child. All children love to sing and songs are on fun way to teach the phonics alphabet. Once students learn these songs you can test your child's knowledge with phonics alphabet worksheets. Playing language games such as rhyming, sound substitution and sound deletion with your child also makes learning phonics fun and can be done in small increments while traveling to appointments, waiting in line and getting ready for nap or bedtime.

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When reading to your child, read slowly, and point to the words that you are reading to help the child make a connection between the word your are saying and the word you are reading. Always remember that reading should be a fun and enjoyable activity for your children, and it should never feel like a "chore" for them. Click here to help your child learn to read

Author's Bio: 

Now you can teach your child to read and make him or her develop critical, foundational reading skills that puts them years ahead of other children....even if they are having difficulties at learning to read! Visit Techniques for Teaching Reading

The first few years of life are the most important and critical for the development of literacy skills, and having a literacy-rich environment at home will ensure your child becomes a successful reader. Aside from reading to your child, specific instructions and teaching must be used to teach your child to read. For a simple, step-by-step program that will help you teach your child to read, visit Best Way to Teach Reading

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