As a teacher, you know that a proper pencil grip is essential for your little learners when they’re starting to write. However, teaching this fine motor skill can be challenging. Here are some tried-and-true tips and techniques that I’ve discovered to help with Teaching Pencil Grip To Little Learners.

Why is Proper Pencil Grip Necessary?

Physical Hand Structure

It’s important to understand that children have not yet developed mature bone and muscle structures. This can be seen in the marked difference between an adult’s bone structure and that of a small child, as shown in the two pictures below. While this may explain why little learners struggle with precise fine motor skills, it also highlights the need to provide them with ample opportunities to practice and improve these essential skills. ( See “Fine Motor Skill Activities In Kindergarten“.)

Not only are they still physically developing, many students have never had the opportunity to hold a pencil or writing utensil, (due to the influx of technology), making it essential to teach proper pencil grip. Providing ample opportunities for practice is crucial to ensure that your little learners can hold a pencil and write confidently.

Teaching Pencil Grip


🎶🎼Another chant…but this one is for holding a pencil and writing!✍🏼 I would sing this chant during the first few weeks of school as the students were practicing their names or letter writing!➡️These no-prep alphabet letter practice pages are a MUST for explicit letter instruction too! #kindergartenchaos #backtoschool2023📓 #kindergarten #kindergartenteacher #finemotordevelopment #kindergartentips #kindergartenwriting #chant #song

♬ original sound – Kindergarten Chaos


What do you do when a student is having trouble holding a pencil? Should you step in and provide them with writing aids? The answer is not so simple. First, you should determine if the student’s handwriting is developmentally appropriate or simply unrecognizable scribbles. If the writing is age-appropriate, continue to work with them and monitor progress. However, if the writing is illegible, consider providing “pencil grips“. These grips can assist students in holding the pencil properly, leading to more accurate writing.

Take a look at the picture below for another straightforward intervention. Ask your student to open their hand and hold a tissue with their fourth and pinkie fingers while extending the other fingers out. This exercise strengthens and sharpens the hand muscles required for holding a pencil and writing.

At the age of two, my daughter was holding her pencil with just her thumb and forefinger, without any involvement from the other fingers. Despite this unusual grip, she was able to write (scribble) very effectively and at a developmentally appropriate level. I decided to let her learn at her own pace, and eventually, she learned how to hold the pencil correctly.

In this example, a student holds their pencil with their thumb wrapped around it. However, this grip did not cause any developmental difficulties in their writing and therefore, no intervention was required.

It’s crucial to teach pencil grip to kindergarteners to improve their handwriting and reduce hand fatigue. With a little patience, encouragement, and plenty of practice, you can assist them in developing strong pencil grip habits that will benefit them in the long run.

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