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What is the Correct Pencil Grasp?

What is the correct pencil grasp? How do I know when to “fix” a child’s grasp? These are questions I receive quite often. Many teachers, parents and even Occupational Therapists get hung up on a child’s grasp. If it’s not a “typical” dynamic tripod grasp, many are eager to fix it. What’s a “typical” tripod grasp you might ask? Well, it looks like this:

The dynamic tripod grasp is widely accepted as the "correct" grasp.

This grasp is widely accepted as the “correct” grasp and is typically seen in children ages 5 years and up.

Wondering if your child’s grasp is age appropriate? CLICK HERE

There are other grasps, however, that are also acceptable.

People Use SO MANY Different Types of Grasps! Just Take a Look!


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So What is the Correct Pencil Grasp?

Well, the correct pencil grasp, while it may look different from child to child, is one that is FUNCTIONAL! By functional I mean one that does not put undue stress or strain on the hand or finger musculature and one that allows for precision and efficiency.

That being said, there are a few pencil grasps that I will try to change if the child is young enough. By about the end of second to the end of third grade I have found that it is VERY difficult to change a child’s grasp. They have simply been using it too long and breaking the pattern and muscle memory is challenging at best.

Non-functional pencil grasp

This child is stabilizing and guiding his pencil with a tightly hooked index finger. There is a lot of stress being placed on the joints of his index finger which will fatigue quickly. He will also have less fine motor precision when using this grasp.