Should I Correct My Daughter on Holding the Pencil Right

Updated on May 20, 2010
D.S. asks from Castaic, CA
19 answers

My very bright daughter holds her pencil in an ackward position, She will be 6 next month and will be entering the 1st grade in the fall. I'm not sure if I should correct her or let it go.

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So What Happened?

Thank you all. My daughter does have great penmanship so I will let it be.

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answers from Pittsburgh on

It could be a sign of a small motor issue. My son had OT for fine motor and the main indication was that he held pencils and crayons awkwardly. Pencil grips, strength squeeze balls, playdoh all help with fine motor. Also..let her use really really little (short) pencils and crayons--like little stubs. That kind of forces them to hold them correctly!

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answers from Columbus on

At age 6 this may self correct, but learning the proper pencil grip is important. I would look for a little pencil called the Twist n write. It is shaped like a Y and the child's index finger goes through the Y so that they must hold it in a proper tripod grasp. They look like little rockets. You may be able to find them in stores, but you will find them easily on line too, the Pen version is called Penagain, and is larger and padded. Give it a try, and keep an eye out for her fine motor development- espcially if she is holding her head funny when she writes too, or if she does not seem to get that she should use her non writing hand to stablize her writing, these would go hand in hand (no pun intended) with a poor pencil grasp if she has fine motor issues. She may not at all, 6 is pretty young. I would not let it go-a proper grasp is essential.


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answers from Kansas City on

I personally would let it go.

I write at a weird angle, I'm right handed and have to have my paper turned at a 90 degree angle. I remember teachers trying to turn my paper straight.
I used to read that way too, I would have my book turned at an angle but could read without turning my head.

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answers from Indianapolis on

I was corrected when I was in 3rd grade because I'm left handed and was dragging my hand across pencil, marker, etc. and getting smudges on myself and the page (I have never done the hook).

I've seen people holding writing instruments in all kinds of crazy ways. Our soon-to-be 4 year old son does it, too, and I've chosen not to correct him because it's natural and isn't impeding his ability to write.

That being said, I'd see if it's a limitation to her ability to write well and quickly, and only bring it up if it's something that challenges her. If not, I'd let it go.


answers from Denver on

I'm not sure if you should correct or not but I do know they make pencil grippers to show where your fingers go and makes it more comfortable to hold. I remember using them growing up.
similar to these:

The ones I used were Stetro brand.. LOVE THEM! Almost makes me wanna by some for myself right now, but I rarely have to write in pencil or pens.


answers from Minneapolis on

I absolutely would NOT try to "correct" it or any such thing. There is not absolutely correct way and I would never let anyone tell me otherwise!

My daughter is an extremely talented artist (almost 16 years old)...and was recently accepted into an Arts High School locally....and she is a "weird grip" person too! Without that unusual grip, she would not be creating the wonderful sketches and funky characters she does so remarkably!

You never know what that grip and that writing will bring in the future! Let it happen naturally, and don't try to alter it unless your child brings it to you as a pain issue or similar.......


answers from Los Angeles on

I hold my pencil funny too, but it has never caused a problem, and I get compliments all the time on how neat my writing is. So I say, if it's not bothering her or affecting her writing, then let it be. good Luck!



answers from Sioux Falls on

My son has always held his pencil almost backwards. It drives his grandma nuts! He is now 16 and still holds it wierd, but he is very artistic and can write fine. It is just really interesting to watch! Many teachers tried to correct it, but he would have none of it!



answers from Detroit on

Just went through this with my almost 6 year old. I don't think I would have made an issue of it except that when she uses the correct grip, her handwriting is noticeably neater. Also, I tried writing using her grip and found that I didn't have as much control (which would explain the difference in handwriting quality). I figured being left handed was enough of a challenge so after many corrections on my part and lots of eye rolling on hers, she holds it the correct way now.



answers from Tampa on

Wow, I could have wrote this post. Both my girls 8 and 5 hold the pencil with a death grip. The teachers tried to correct it with pencil grips and just telling them to hold it correctly. My daughters both have legible handwritting so I'm not worried about that. I am worried they could get carpel tunnel early. Maybe in the next few years they will change on their own. Can't wait to hear more answers.



answers from Portland on

Well, to quote my grandmother, "good thing your penmanship is so beautiful because the way you hold your pen is hideous!".

I personally would say let it go.


I read some carpel tunnel concerns but most school work will be done on a computer. I find I rarely use a pen and paper anymore so I wouldn't use that as a basis for correcting it if that is the route you go.



answers from Cincinnati on

Over the years, I had teachers struggle to correct the way I held my pencil. I had to use those grippy things on a pencil and I was always being scolded. I also had terrible marks in penmanship. When I hit high school and teachers stopped caring (or at least bothering to correct me), I immediately went back to holding the pencil my way - even after probably 8 years of "correcting" my grip - and my handwriting improved 110%. I kept a journal in high school and took excellent notes in college and grade school with my own odd way to hold a pencil, and I have had no health problems except that I have a callus on my ring finger where the pencil digs into my knuckle. When I moved to Japan for a couple years, people began telling me how I was holding my chopsticks wrong as well (in exactly the same way). But I can still use them nearly as well as the Japanese! ^_^

My vote is to go ahead and try to correct it now, since she's so young and she may just need to learn the right way to do it, but if it fails, please don't stress about it. Don't let anyone tell you it will interfere with her life, either. She may need to hold it that way in order to write effectively - right now, it's too early to tell.



answers from San Francisco on

I think it's ok to let her hold it however she feels most comfortable. If she seems to be holding it in a real cumbersome manner, maybe you can check with the doctor to see if it poses longer term problems....

Personally I held my pencil/pens in an awkward way when I was a child as well (I held my utensils weird too!) At some point in my pre-teens I just switched on my own. No real reason that prompted me, I think I just did it to 'see' and it just felt right so I continued with the 'correct' way. I'm guessing she'll just evolve on her own



answers from Tampa on

I hold my pencil wrong as well. The teachers in elementary school put in some serious effort but no dice. Teach her the "correct" way to hold a pencil so that she knows how and then let it go.


answers from Saginaw on

I don't hold a pencil correctly and never realized I held it wrong until later in life. I write very hard on the paper I think as a result. Often in college my hand/wrist would ache from writing a lot. I'm not sure, if this is a result of holding a pencil incorrectly or if I was just doing a lot of writing. I don't seem to have any problems now unless writing for long periods which rarely happens. So to answer your question, I think if I was in your position I would try to correct it but if you can't change it I wouldn't worry about it. Have you asked her teachers opinion or any teachers opinion?



answers from St. Louis on

You can always have a conversation with her about why she holds the pencil this way and then after you have talked about it-you can decide if it is necessary to suggest she try a different manner and see if it feels easier for her. If her handwriting is legible then it really is not needed, but if she is not writing correct then maybe some help would make it easier and more comfortable for her. Watch people around you-very few adults hold a writing item in any proper manner-she may be starting early. Sometimes trying to change how a person does something in a manner while learning can change how well they learn/or not learn-so maybe the answer is not to watch her writing. I am a lefty and in the third grade they thought it was needed to change me to right-handed--the only thing it did was make me mad and I refused to read any books for many years (oh yes-they used books to bounce on my left hand when I wrote anything! Really bad move!) If her teacher is not worried and she is writing-I recommend leave it alone.



answers from Dallas on

I tried to correct my then 7yo and it didn't work, she got frustrated I got frustrated, I finally let it go. Her handwritting is fairly neat and I can understand every word so I lost that battle,



answers from Charlotte on

There are pencil grips that you can get at school supply stores that help a child hold a pencil correctly. My son's OT provided these to help him and other children learn to hold a pencil in a way that protects their wrists and helps prevent finger and hand cramping. It's worth getting for your child - it will help with the writing too. It's fine and all to say that it's not necessary to correct it, but if OT's think it's important, maybe it is.

All my best,



answers from Los Angeles on

I have never held a pen/pencil right. I hold it very awkwardly and always have. No one ever tried to correct it. I am 25 and for the past 2 years have had symptoms of carpal tunnel in my writing hand. I would try to get her to hold it correctly now to avoid that in the future.

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