Learning to correctly hold a pencil is the beginning step of being able to properly form letters. This is a great article that goes into more depth on proper letter formation and how to practice with your child. It states, “If your child has to think about how to form individual letters, at school, when writing in his journal and in completing other written exercises, he won’t be able to keep up with peers who have automatic recall and efficient fine-motor skills. Speed of printing will slow down because of it.” Children who can hold a pencil properly and practice proper letter formation are ahead of peers who don’t have this skill. Once this becomes habit the child no longer has to think about it which allows them to focus on what they are writing instead of concentrating on how to form each letter.
When I was a preschool teacher we would have annual meetings with local kindergarten teachers and one of the things they stressed was that they wanted to see kids entering kindergarten who are able to hold a pencil correctly. They told us we would not believe how many kids can’t do that basic skill. I still tutor kids who are in older grades who don’t hold a pencil correctly, don’t form their letters correctly, and are struggling in class. I notice these kids are still concentrating on holding the pencil and retraining themselves to make their letters correctly. It is such a distraction from the learning process because I’m trying to teach them addition and not only do they have to focus on the math but the other basic skills as well.
I’m hoping by putting this post out there it will help parents realize the importance of holding the pencil correctly and will inspire them to make sure their children learn this valuable skill. Most parents will make sure their child has the skills they need BUT they have to be aware of what they need to be teaching. So feel free to send this link to all the parents you know who have preschool children!
Proper pencil holding:
Grip the pencil between your thumb and forefinger.
Let the rest of the fingers curl under to balance the pencil.