Handwriting and Self-Assessment

Handwriting practice improves with assessment. drawyourworld.com
Handwriting practice improves with assessment. drawyourworld.com
Handwriting practice improves with assessment. drawyourworld.com
Handwriting practice improves with assessment. drawyourworld.com

Self-Assessment of handwriting work. montessoritidbits.com See montessoritidbits.com for Leann’s tips onImproving Handwriting with Draw Write Now.

Leann presents the lessons in three parts in her homeschool:

The Warm-up—review notes from the prior day and work on letters needing help.

Drawing and Writing—30 minutes of drawing and writing.

Self-Assessment—look over the writing and noting the best work and the things that can be improved.

In the classroom, the warm-up and assessment process is just as important. Handwriting improves when the teacher checks over the students’ drawings and writing, noting issues and adjusting the next day’s lesson.

My mom, Marie Hablitzel, had over 30 students in her classes, making it difficult for one-on-one time for self-assessments. The assessments were made, though—she carefully reviewed each of her students’ drawing and writing papers after class and adjusted the next day’s lesson or found time to work with students needing individual attention.

Assessment is a huge part of improving handwriting. 

Handwriting and drawing using Draw Write Now. montessoritidbits.com

Source: http://handsonhomeschooler.com/2013/02/imp...

Hold the Pencil

We send this booklet, Hold the Pencil Like This, in every order we ship. Get it with an order or download it now...FREE (pdf, 493 pdf)

It was hard to hold my pencil like this at first, but I kept trying. Now I do it all the time.
— Sarah, first-grade student
It was easy. My daughter changed her grip within two weeks.
— Carol, mom of a 5 year-old


Some children easily transition to the Tripod Grasp. For others, it is a challenge to keep the fingers in the tripod position. There are a variety of tools available to help keep the fingers in place. They are temporary tools, much like training wheels on a bicycle. See them in our store.

Training Tools

Training Tools

How hard is it to change the grip?


Some children use the tripod grasp naturally. Others may simply need to be shown and encouraged to practice.


Some children might benefit with a triangular shaped pencil as a little reminder to keep the fingers in a tripod position. Also, there are grippers that slip onto a pencil to make it triangular.

Triangular-shaped pencils help establish the tripod grasp.

Triangular-shaped pencils help establish the tripod grasp.

Extra Training

Grippers with indentations or cups for the fingers help those who have a hard time keeping the fingers in place.

Pencil Grippers help keep the fingers in position.

Pencil Grippers help keep the fingers in position.


The Twist n' Write Pencil takes a different approach on holding the pencil and helps those who have established a grasp that is harder to change.


"The new grip will probably feel uncomfortable at first."

At first, my son said that the pencil with the pencil gripper was uncomfortable. I explained that he was familiar with the other way of holding a pencil and that as he got accustomed to the new grip it would feel better. He used the pencil with the gripper only when we sat down together to draw. I ignored how he held the pencil at other times of the day.

After about six weeks, during a time when he was drawing on his own, I noticed that he held his pencil (no gripper) using the tripod grip. I said, “Look how you are holding your pencil.” He looked down at his hand and said, “I didn’t mean to do it!” We practiced together with the gripper a few more weeks, until he realized that he really didn’t need it anymore.

The gripper was temporary—like using training wheels on a bike.
— Kim Stitzer, mother of a five year-old

Posture While Drawing or Writing

Standing While Drawing & Writing

Writing or drawing while standing at a vertical surface—an easel, white board, or any vertical surface in a house (wall, fridge, glass door)—has these benefits:

  • the hand and forearm fall naturally in the correct position
  • arm movement is free—The heel of the hand is not “planted” in one position. When the hand is “planted”, movement is restricted to only the fingers.
  • downward strokes come naturally, which is similar to the top to bottom direction used when writing letters

Take the toddler out of the highchair so they can stand while they color and scribble. Let the four year-old draw a dog on the garage wall. Give the 7 year-old an easel. Challenge the 12 year-old to draw while standing. 

An easel has a slanted surface, which is more comfortable to work at than a straight vertical surface. Make a simple easel by leaning a board against a wall. This could be an old bulletin board or whiteboard. (Stabilize the board at the top where it touches the wall and block the bottom.)

Sitting While Drawing & Writing


Most of our drawing and writing is done while sitting at a table. The arm rests on the surface of the table, stabilizing the hand and arm movement.

When sitting:

  • feet are flat on the floor (or a step stool or a stack of books)
  • knees are at the same level as the hips
  • arms, bent at the elbow, rest on the table top
  • shoulders are relaxed, not scrunched up toward the ears

Maintain the hand/wrist/arm position that is presented while standing. Watch for “planting” of the hand—the hand and forearm should rest on the table top and provide stabilization for the arm, but not constrict movement. The non-writing hand stabilizes the paper.

A child-size chair and table helps tremendously, if available. Adjustable tables and chairs are available for the growing child.

Relaxing While Drawing & Writing

Just as we like to see a child relaxing with a book, we love to see a child lounging with a pencil and paper. A relaxed posture while writing/drawing has it’s place and time. Simply remember to include plenty of practice time in the standing and/or sitting positions. 

Infants as well as 12 year-olds benefit from “tummy-time”. Therapist recommend that children lay on their stomach while propping their upper body with their arms. This position may be awkward for writing, but is fine while watching TV, reading or playing with small toys.

Outdoor activities like swinging from bars on a jungle gym, climbing a rock wall or walking like a crab develop the muscles and skills needed for good posture.