Writing Hurts My Hand

rachel3.jpg

Does your child complain of a sore or tired hand while writing? 

I received a nice letter from Erica yesterday. A while back, she'd studied our Writing/Handwriting pages and bought some of the recommended pencils and grips for her son who is in 2nd Grade. Back then, she was concerned, because the boy was saying he hated school. After some discussion, he mentioned that his hand hurt from writing so much. Helping him change his grasp and giving him a different pencil made a huge difference and his attitude towards school dramatically improved.

Rachel, in the photo, is three years-old and developed the tripod grasp naturally on her own. See how she holds her crayon? Beautiful! Not all three year-olds can hold their pencil this way.

At three, a child's fine and gross motor skills are still developing and many children don't have the control  for holding a crayon or pencil in the tripod grasp. Let them draw and don't fret about their grasp—their fine and gross motor skills will develop. Generally, I like to start working with the child on the tripod grasp when they are five or around the time they want to start writing their name.

Erica's seven year-old son is a bright boy and probably had a pencil in hand at a young age, but unlike Rachel, he didn't transition into the tripod grasp. At three years-old, the way he held a pencil served him well, but proved to be a hindrance at the age of seven. 

What helped Erica's son was changing to a soft-lead pencil with a gripper and a little instruction and encouragement from Mom.

Video: Draw & Write Together

 
 
 
Draw Write Now, Books 1-8, lessons for drawing and writing with children.

Draw Write Now, Books 1-8, lessons for drawing and writing with children.

Video

Draw and write with a child. We create drawing lessons and include writing practice—especially, handwriting practice. This is an introduction to Draw-Write-Now, our eight-book series.

 

Video: Hold the Pencil

 
 
 

VIDEO

The way you hold a pencil can be a huge help when drawing or writing. This is a demonstration on how to hold a pencil.

  • Learn the benefits of holding the pencil in the tripod grasp or grip.
  • Become aware that the base of your hand steadies the tripod as you draw or write.
 

A New Gripper - The Thumb Grip

 

We have a new gripper in our store, called The Pincher Grip...BUT, I dislike associating the word "pinch" when holding a pencil, so I'm choosing to call it The Thumb Grip. 

The Thumb Grip (my name) or The Pincher Grip (it's real name)

The Thumb Grip (my name) or The Pincher Grip (it's real name)

Grip Starter Set

Grip Starter Set

This gripper is similar to the Crossover Grip, but does not have the "hood". I think it does a good job of discouraging the crossing over of the thumb and is more accommodating for children with long fingernails. It just might replace the Crossover Grip, at least that's what I'm finding. The manufacturer sees it as a transition from the Crossover Grip  >  Pinch Grip  >  Pencil Grip. I believe that children can go from Pinch Grip (Thumb Grip) to no gripper.

Our popular Grip Starter Set now comes with a Thumb Grip. (We replaced the Crossover Grip with the Thumb Grip.)

The Crossover Grip

The Crossover Grip

Much More Than "Pretty Writing"

"Don't worry, he will write on a computer."

Children with poor motor-skills need training in handwriting and should not be told to simply forgo the pencil and use a computer to write.

A bright teen came to me for help. He wrote only on the computer and found that there were times when it was necessary to write by hand. His lack of handwriting experience hindered him with illegible and slow writing, but more significantly, he had problems composing without a computer. He was unable to mentally outline an essay—he had always used cut and paste to organize his thoughts.

Poor motor-skills can improve with age and practice. As a young child, this teen should have received help with his fine-motor and gross-motor development, and the standard of perfect penmanship should have been loosened. His caring parents would have helped him, but they were told, "Don't worry, he will write with a computer." As it was, this bright and motivated young man saw the need to catch up and simply worked on it himself. For some, an occupational therapist trained to work with handwriting can make the difference.

The computer is a fine tool for writing, but not when it keeps us from exercising our brains. Handwriting practice that leads to a legible script is a terribly important skill for growing minds. It is a necessary skill that should not be taken lightly.

 

Drawing instruction is not only for

the artistically talented child.

 

Handwriting instruction is not only for

the child with a flair for penmanship.

 

Handwriting is an Art!

Speech, writing, grammar, spelling, vocabulary—the parts and pieces of Language Arts. They fall into the categories of creativity and craftsmanship:

  • Creative—stories, poetry, vocabulary
  • Craft—reporting, instructions, handwriting, spelling

Handwriting is fundamental.

Handwriting is a craft.

Handwriting is an Art!