As a new homeschool mom, I wasn’t always confident that I was doing things “right”. Looking back on those early years, I think I pushed too hard sometimes. And then at other times I didn’t push enough. (I tend to swing between extremes.) I wondered if David was reading enough. Was his handwriting too messy? Were we spending enough time doing school? Were we spending too much time? What about math drill?
Enter Anna, child number 2, and I began to feel a little more confident. She was a dream child to homeschool. In kindergarten she would get her own workbooks out and do them herself without me even asking her to. So I pretty much let her. With a difficult to teach older brother and a 3 year old younger brother, it was about all I could do anyway.
Since I didn’t often sit with her watching her work, it took awhile for me to notice that she was holding her pencil incorrectly . It wasn’t horrible, but I was determined to correct it. Since she was left-handed, it was difficult for me to demonstrate a proper grip, so I went to the local education store and purchased a pencil grip that I found there.
I tried to get her to use the pencil grip, but she didn’t like it. I tried to show her how to use it, but I had a very hard time figuring it out myself. We did figure it out, but it felt awkward. Plus it was hard and uncomfortable. That was pretty much the end of working on her pencil grasp. She’s almost 16 now, her grasp is functional, but her hand gets tired with too much writing.
Recently I received a collection of products from The Pencil Grip, Inc. to review. There are 3 different grip shapes and a child can transition from one grip to the next, allowing his hand to get used to the slightly different position. The grips are soft and more intuitive to hold then the different one we tried 10 years ago.
The 3-Step Grip Training Kit begins with the Crossover Grip (pictured in green on the left). This grip stops fingers from crossing over. Its shape is described as a “Superhero cape” to help encourage children to use the grip.
The next step is the Pinch Grip (in the center). This grip goes a step further and serves as a intermediate point between the crossover grip and the final step which uses the Original Grip.
The Original Grip is suitable for training all children to use the tripod grasp for writing. Using the grip can help prevent the development of bad habits.
All 3 grips can be used by either right handed or left handed children. They can be used to help correct a child with an incorrect grip, or train a young child who is beginning to write to avoid developing a bad habit.
I will be using these with Andrew, my 5 year old, as he begins formal writing lessons this fall. I am also encouraging Anna to see if they help keep her hand from tiring as quickly. I don’t think the Superhero Cape will help encourage her much though.
Disclosure: I received a free set of pencil grips in order to write this review. I was not compensated for this post. All opinions expressed are my own. I am not an Occupational Therapist and do not have training in proper pencil grasps.
By Kristen H.