Messy handwriting is the bane of a lot of teachers. It can be hard to measure what kids know when you can’t read what they write. Some kids just need a little help adjusting the way they hold a pencil. Others may suffer from dysgraphia or dyspraxia, sensory processing disorders, or hand injuries or tremors. All of these kids may benefit from specialized pencil grips and other handwriting tools. Here are some of our favorites to try out.
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Mlife Pencil Grips, 10-Pack
Why We Love It: These are the most popular pencil grips on Amazon, with thousands of 5-star reviews. They fit on crayons, pencils, markers, and more.
Real Review: “I absolutely love this product! My child has Autism and really struggles with his fine motor skills. This product has worked wonders in helping him hold his pencil properly and I couldn’t be more excited about how much he’s improved since he started using this!”
Buy it: Mlife Pencil Grips, 10-Pack
Firesara Left-Handed Pencil Grips
Why We Love It: Lefties face special challenges, so these grips are made just for them. Start using them early and you’ll see real results.
Real Review: “I got these for my left-handed 5 year old. She’s been using these everyday for the past 3 weeks and the way she holds her pencil has already been corrected! I was really skeptical and thought that as soon as I take them off her pencils, she’ll just go back to the way she was holding them before, but so far, no relapsing. They really worked for my daughter!!”
Firesara Elephant Pencil Grips
Why We Love It: The loop on the back of this grip helps kids correctly position their middle finger under the pencil. They work for righties and lefties, too.
Real Review: “My son is in 4th grade and was struggling with good penmanship. Most of his stuff you couldn’t read. Not sure how his teacher graded half his papers! We got him these pencil grips and it has helped TREMENDOUSLY!”
Buy it: Firesara Elephant Pencil Grips
JARLINK Colorful Pencil Grips
Why We Like It: Some kids may be reluctant to use pencil grips because they don’t want to look different from other kids. This cute style feels more like a reward instead.
Real Review: “I’ve fought my daughter to write correctly since kindergarten. She’s now in 7th grade and is willing to try because of these.”
Cimostar Ergonomic Pencil Grips
Why We Like It: As kids learn correct grip, they can switch to an aid like this one. It reinforces the proper grip but offers a little more freedom.
Real Review: “This worked out great for my students! I have several students who need help with their grip and an inexpensive way to do so. The bright colors made the kids happier to use them and they caught on quickly.”
Buy it: Cimostar Ergonomic Pencil Grips
The Pencil Grip Original Ergonomic Writing Aid
Why We Like It: This option is especially good for kids who tend to squeeze the pencil too tight or hold it too high or low on the barrel. It’s a little large, so it’s better for upper elementary kids and older.
Real Review: “I use these consistently with children who cannot form or sustain a tripod grasp (after trying other techniques). The Pencil Grip is easy to use….on each grip, an ‘R’ and ‘L’ are printed on the sides. The thumb of the writing hand goes on the side the letter is printed on. So, if you’re a righty, your thumb would go under the ‘R.’ They get a bit gummy after sustained use, as the oils from the fingers will wear down the material. But one grip should last an academic year.”
The Pencil Grip Crossover Writing Aid
Why We Like It: This grip has “wings” to help hold fingers in the right position. The center ridge keeps fingers from crossing over to the wrong side.
Real Review: “My Kindergartner had a weird thumb wrap in her pencil grasp. She knew what a proper finger placement looked like, and could show me, but her “go to” was the weird grasp that she had developed. Just a few months of using these pencil grips, and the weird thumb thing has almost entirely gone away.”
Sayopin 19-Piece Pencil Grip Set
Why We Like It: This set is designed to improve writing grips in stages. In the early stages, the tripod grips hold fingers firmly in position. As kids improve, they step down to simpler aids. The pencil buddies add a fun touch!
Real Review:“My son has issues with attention and fine motor control. He really struggled to write. As an occupational therapist, I know finger grips can help and these improved his writing by 50%. I love the step down in support with the different types. Teacher noticed too and is also thrilled.”
Buy it: Sayopin 19-Piece Pencil Grip Set
Special Supplies Egg Pencil Grips
Why We Like It: For kids who have trouble gripping slim pencils or pens, a big cushioned aid like this can be really helpful. It’s also terrific for those who have a habit of holding the utensil so hard their hand cramps.
Real Reviews: “My son has achondroplasia. His hands are small and starfish shaped so he needed some kind of grip for his pencils. So far he’s liking his pencil grips. They’re a little big for his hands but I’m sure for an average sized child/adult it will be very comfortable.”
SenseAid Pencil Weights, Pack of 4
Why We Like It: Weights are helpful for kids with processing disorders and sensory issues. Adding weight to the utensil makes it easier for kids to sense the motion they need to form letters correctly.
Real Review: “Bought these for my son who has ADHD, ODD, dyslexia, and SPD. Before these weights we could barely read his writing, but now what a difference! To me it looks like they help him concentrate more on what he’s writing and he seems to take his time which means less mistakes.”
SenseAid Heavy Weighted Pen
Why We Like It: Older kids who like the feel of weighted pencils will appreciate this weighted pen. The wider barrel makes it easier to hold, too.
Real Review: “Very helpful for kid with dyspraxia! Really useful to improve handwriting.”
Buy it: SenseAid Heavy Weighted Pen
Twist N Write Mechanical Pencils
Why We Love It: This unique design is different from other grips on the market. Since the leads are replaceable, these pencils should last a very long time.
Real Review: “My 9 year old son has dysgraphia and he dreads writing. I dread reading it. The difference with his handwriting is night and day with these pencils. They fit well in his hand and helps make his writing more legible. We still have issues with spacing and sizing, but we can practice now. Great product!”
Really Good Stuff Spaceman Set
Why We Like It:Spacing words properly is another key part of improving handwriting. A “spaceman” helps kids measure the proper amount of distance between each word. You get 30 in a set, so you should have enough for every student.
Real Review: “My kids love these. I remember having them in the first grade so I now have them for my first grade class! I have to count them each time I pass them out so I know they’re all there.”
Starting Blocks Finger Spacer Handwriting Tools
Why We Like It: Fingers can help kids remember proper spacing… two fingers for larger writing, one for smaller. This set of translucent guides is easy to slide along as you write, keeping spacing consistent.
Real Review: “I bought these to help a couple of my kindergarten students to remember spaces between their words. It is very helpful to them for that as well as keeping them on the lines! I love them and would get them again!”
Every kid needs to learn to print, but what about cursive? Find out Why It’s Time To Bring Back Cursive Writing Instruction.
Plus, What Teachers Need to Know to Help Left-Handed Students Succeed.
Teachers have traditionally considered the correct pencil grasp to be the “dynamic tripod” grasp, where the thumb, index and middle fingers are holding the pencil.What is the best pencil grip for handwriting? ›
Teachers have traditionally considered the correct pencil grasp to be the “dynamic tripod” grasp, where the thumb, index and middle fingers are holding the pencil.Do pencil grips improve handwriting? ›
Used correctly, a Pencil Grip can help develop fine motor skills and user control over their handwriting. Traditionally Pencil Grips are made with foam, silicone or moulded rubber. The pencil grip has helped reform the writing ability of countless children and adults, both able bodied and those with disabilities.What are the 4 types of pencil grips? ›
- Triangle Grip. Provides physical promoting for a tripod grasp with the three-sided design. Good for early learners as it promotes good finger placement.
- Claw Grip. Provides a cap for the child's thumb, index, and middle finger. ...
- Grotto Grip. Promotes placement of thumb and index finger. ...
- Solo Grip.
Tripod grip: This is a grip using three fingers of the hand - the thumb, index and middle fingers. A child typically develops this grip around the age of three or four. It is a functional grasp which is essential for a number of tasks, such as holding a pencil or fastening buttons.What causes poor pencil grip? ›
Poor pencil grips can develop for several reasons: some children do not have the muscle strength and finger dexterity required to hold a pencil correctly; others may have been forced to use an inappropriate grip for the stage in their development (which research highlights as causing a poor grip style later on);What tools help you hold a pencil? ›
Pencil grips are a great tool to help a child's pencil grasp. Usually coming in bright colors, these tools can help those who have a hard time holding a pencil properly. Even adults can use them if recovering from a hand injury who has a weakened hand grasp.What is the most common pencil grip? ›
The most common method for holding a pencil -- the same one you probably use for writing -- is the basic tripod grip. The thumb and forefinger form a triangle with the middle finger, with the form being supported by the ring finger and pinkie.What is the best pencil grip for low tone? ›
The Adaptive Tripod Grip is appropriate to use when low muscle tone or hyper mobility of the finger joints limits pinching and manipulating the pencil.Does pencil grip really matter? ›
The answer is YES, it does matter!
How you hold your pencil really does make a difference—and it will also impact your writing. Your pencil grasp is directly related to handwriting speed and legibility, as having a mature grasp is more efficient and less tiring on your hands (Schwellnus, et al., 2012).
Some of the most common immature pencil grip include:
Thumb tuck (Thumb is tucked under index finger with no web space) Thumb wrap (Thumb is wrapped around the pencil and fingers) Bent wrist position. Lack of wrist stability on desk.
- Use resistance putty (Theraputty) to help them build general hand strength. ...
- Use tweezers with your child. ...
- When your colouring with your child, break all of the crayons into small pieces. ...
- Try to encourage your child to rest the ulnar side (the little finger) of their hand on the page when they are writing or colouring.
- 01 of 04. The Basic Tripod Grip. H South. ...
- 02 of 04. The Extended Tripod Grip. H South. ...
- 03 of 04. The Overhand Grip. H South. ...
- 04 of 04. The Underhand Pencil Grip. H South.
There are four common ways people can hold a pencil: a Dynamic Tripod Grip, a Lateral Tripod Grip, a Dynamic Quadrupod Grip and lastly, a Lateral Quadrupod Grip. The first Tripod hold is the Dynamic Tripod Grip, the most common way to hold a pencil.How can I improve my handwriting in 30 days? ›
In order to improve your handwriting in as little as 30 days, you will need to create a personalized improvement plan, practice daily, and work to refine your posture and technique. If you can dedicate 25 focused minutes per day to your handwriting practice, you can make noticeable improvements in about one month.What type of grip is used for writing? ›
A 'static' grip is where the fingers are locked in their position, with the hand muscles doing little work. This pencil movement is, therefore, coming largely from the wrist and above. A 'dynamic grip' is where the fingers can move the pencil allowing for more precise drawing and writing.Why can't I hold a pencil correctly? ›
Another surprising cause of incorrect pencil grasp is weak shoulder muscles. The muscles of the arms and shoulders are more involved than you might think in the act of grasping and writing, and if these muscles haven't been built up sufficiently, it can lead to an incorrect pencil grasp.What makes your grip better? ›
Tips to Improve Grip Strength
“Holding things of different sizes can help," says Malek. If you're working out, try using different grips with weight, including open and closed. Focusing specifically on strengthening the muscles in your lower arm and throughout your upper body will also help, says Malek.
By the age of 8 / 9 years old it can be very difficult to get a child to change their pencil grip especially if the old grip, like the quadrupod grip (Stage 4), is very similar to the new grip the dynamic tripod grip.What causes bad handwriting in adults? ›
Cases of dysgraphia in adults generally occur after some trauma. The cause of the disorder is unknown, but in adults, it is usually associated with damage to the parietal lobe of the brain. Treatment varies and may focus on controlling writing movements and addressing impaired memory or other neurological problems.
By holding the pencil in different ways, we can instantly create variety in our drawings. Beyond this however, expanding the possibles of how the pencil is held will lead to new ways of making marks, expanding our drawing possibilities.Why does my hand hurt when I write? ›
Simple writer's cramp is most often caused by the wrong placement of the pen in the hand, poor posture when writing, and using your hand too much. A further consequence of this muscle strain is that the writer can press down too hard on the paper. This in turn can lead to pain and muscle spasms.What is the best pencil for ADHD? ›
Best School Supplies for ADHD: Early Elementary
Ticonderoga® Beginners' Elementary Pencils Fat pencils for little fingers have been around for decades, for a good reason. They are easier for younger hands to learn a proper pencil grasp.
Dynamic tripod grasp is where the child uses their finger muscles to control the pencil, rather than their forearm and upper arm. The use of the thumb, index, and middle finger allows them to have good pencil control.How many fingers should you hold a pencil with? ›
Your middle finger should be supporting the pencil. These three fingers form a triangular, tripod sort of shape. "The barrel of the pencil sort of lays back on the hand, about where your knuckle is," Donica said. "That allows the fingers to be able to move and the wrist to control that tool pretty easily."Are triangle pencils better? ›
Triangular pencils can help encourage a tripod grasp – Triangular pencils encourage three fingers to hold the pencil as there are 3 sides, they are not a fool proof method of getting a correct grasp though so it is not essential, just a little help for some children!What happens if you grip your pencil too hard? ›
The best pencil grip is a comfortable grip that allows the hands and fingers to move freely and easily when writing and drawing. Some children, however, hold their pencil very tightly and often press heavily on the page. As a result, a child may write in a slow and effortful manner or her hand may become tired or sore.What are the symptoms of dysgraphia? ›
- Difficulties writing in a straight line.
- Difficulties with holding and controlling a writing tool.
- Writing letters in reverse.
- Having trouble recalling how letters are formed.
- Having trouble knowing when to use lower or upper case letters.
The thumb wrap grasp is what you see when you the end of the thumb is wrapped around the pointer finger. The pencil is supported with the tip of the pointer finger, and supported by the middle finger. The end of the thumb wraps around the pencil to support and stabilize the pencil.How can I improve my child's pencil grip? ›
Rolling Play-Doh into small balls. Squeezing a spray bottle with the pointer and middle fingers. Placing coins into a piggy bank. Holding a cotton ball in the palm with the ring and middle fingers while colouring, writing, or cutting.
There are two types of grips: power grip and pinch grip.What is a 3 finger grasp? ›
What is it? A three fingered or tripod grasp is when the thumb, index finger and middle finger work together to pick up small objects. Why is it important? A tripod grasp is used throughout the day and is used for feeding ourselves, dressing ourselves and holding a crayon or pencil efficiently.How do geniuses hold pen? ›
The thumb grips above the index finger. The index and middle finger grip above the thumb. The whole hand is arched like a fist around the pen. The thumb is usually on the opposite side and holding against it.How do Japanese people hold a pencil? ›
Grip the pen about lightly 1/3 of the way from its tip. Rest your middle finger under the pen and position your ring and pinky fingers underneath it. With a proper grip like this, you can put less stress on the muscles and joints of your hand.Does grip affect handwriting? ›
A poor pencil grip can affect the quality of a child's handwriting as well as putting unnecessary strain on the hand muscles and ligaments. This causes the hand to tense or cramp and tire quickly, making the handwriting process hard work.What are the three 3 types of grip? ›
Each type of grip uses different muscles within the forearm to perform certain tasks. The three types of grip are Crush, Pinch and Support.What are the different types of grip in? ›
There are two types of grips: power grip and pinch grip.What are the three factors that can affect handwriting? ›
These factors are speed, size, slant, spacing, pressure, and form.What causes handwriting to get worse? ›
It could indicate a neurological or muscular problem. “When someone's handwriting changes and becomes messy, sloppy, illegible or shaky, that might be a sign of an essential tremor, Parkinson's disease, writer's cramp or ataxia,” says neurologist Camilla Kilbane, MD.