Monday, April 4, 2011

Functional Pencil Grasps

One of the most common problems occupational therapists in the school are consulted about is improper pencil grasp. The most efficient way to hold a pencil is the dynamic tripod grasp; however, many other patterns are commonly seen in children, and these grasps do not necessarily require intervention or modification. Here are some examples of functional grasps:


Several studies have found no statistically significant differences in legibility and speed among these types of pencil grasps. However, if a child has an awkward grasp, and complains that her hand tires or hurts, you may want to consider an adaptive pencil, or pencil grip. I really like the "Twist-n-Write" pencils and the Grotto pencil grip. They can be purchased at Amazon. These pencils and pencil grips promote a nice grasp and do a nice job keeping the fingers and thumb in place, thus encouraging a more functional grasp. You also want to encourage wrist extension during writing, and you can do this by having the child write on a slanted surface such as a 3-ring binder or slant board.

If you found this post helpful, please click here on my facebook page and click "like". Thanks! Anne

References (Including Photos of Pencil Grasps):
       Koziatek, S. M., & Powell, N. J. (2003). Pencil grips, legibility, and speed of fourth-graders’ writing in cursive. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 57, 284–288.


  1. I am going to have to try these for my son. Thank you for sharing them. We've had a terrible time with pencil grasp so far.

  2. I need to look up some more information. Can you please tell me the citations you are using when you say "Several studies have found no statistically significant differences in legibility and speed among these types of pencil grasps"?
    -Thanks! :)

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