by Kim Sodano
How children learn to grip their pencils will help them with the fine movements needed for writing. There are other ways to grip a writing utensil but the dynamic tripod grip has traditionally been preferred. A Dynamic tripod grasp should be established by ages 4 1/2-6 years-old.
The dynamic tripod grip is holding your pencil, pen, marker or crayon resting against the middle finger while the thumb and index finger control it. It is the most efficient way to hold the writing utensil for legibility and writing endurance. Other grasp patterns can result in writer’s cramp, improper letter formation and decreased writing speed.
One of my favorite ways to encourage a dynamic tripod grip, and what we have been using in class, is having the kids hold cotton balls, marker caps or small corks in the ring and pinky fingers for stabilization.
Many of our activities and manpulatives (cutting, play dough, Lego’s etc.) encourage hand strength and fine motor skills, which also help with writing development.
A great source that provides helpful tips for kids to developing their dynamic tripod grasp can be found here.