How to Hold a Pen or Pencil
I wrote last week of the importance of holding a pen or pencil properly. If your student complains of an aching hand or shoulders, he or she may be holding the pen incorrectly. Clutching the pen too tightly or in an awkward grip often results in writer’s cramp or muscle fatigue, and students rarely realize why writing is not pleasant. Penmanship is important, and it should be relatively painless, too.
When I taught calligraphy several years ago, I observed that incorrect pen hold was the single biggest obstacle to beautiful and legible writing. I was able to help my adult students learn better habits, but it is far easier to start correctly when young. Proper pen hold can make writing easier, less tiring, and more beautiful. It’s worth practicing.
A picture is worth a thousand words, so I thought I’d offer you this excellent image of the Tripod Grip for the left or right hand. The graphic was developed by Marie Hablitzel and Kim Stitzer, the creators of Draw Your World, who may be even more passionate than I am about the importance of holding a pencil correctly. They graciously granted me permission to reprint this helpful illustration.
If you have a student who has learned an incorrect hold, Draw Your World offers useful training tools such as pencil grips that can help make a difference. Another thing that sometimes helps a student who needs to learn a better pencil hold is to start learning another skill such as calligraphy or drawing in which correct pen hold also matters. It makes learning how to hold a pencil seem more interesting, rather than a tedious chore.
It can be hard to relearn something as basic as how to hold a pen, but it can make a big difference in how easily your student writes, and how pleasant the experience is. And we all know it is more fun to do something pleasant than something hard!