My child still holds his pencil incorrectly. Should I worry?


Holding a pencil correctly can help avoid fatigue and cramping that can make writing difficult. Have your child rest the forearm in a neutral position on a flat writing surface. The hand should rest on the little finger allowing the wrist to move freely. The thumb needs to be in a position where it can provide resistance to the fingers, so the thumb and three or four fingers need to create a rounded, open space between them while holding the pencil. While writing, have your child keep the left elbow close to the body with the left wrist straight and flat against the desk.  If your child is left-handed, encourage him or her to hold the pencil slightly higher in order to see over or around the hand. Keep in mind that smaller writing tools promote proper grip since they are not too long or heavy for little hands. 

Carolyn James, Ph.D.

LeapFrog Literacy Expert

As the literacy development expert on LeapFrog’s Learning Team, Carolyn ensures that the curricular design in LeapFrog products is grounded in the latest educational research. Before joining LeapFrog, Carolyn was a reading professor at Sacramento State University, a curriculum developer for the Lawrence Hall of Science in Berkeley, and a teacher in the San Francisco bay area. She earned her doctorate in educational psychology at Michigan State University.

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