Fine Motor Skills and Handwriting
Understanding fine motor skills and writing begins with learning how to hold a pencil properly. When learning to draw or write, children come in with pencils, crayons, markers, and writing sample of their own. When they are given a finished project to finish, they want to make sure they can complete it.
Those with limited fine motor skills have struggled to draw straight lines. They commonly have trouble creating even lines. They make mistakes and have a hard time recognizing how they should grip the pencil. After several attempts, they still struggle with recognizing their limits, and cannot seem very confident in their ability to hold their pencil and maneuver the eraser.
After some practice, however, most children can learn to hold a pencil. They not only have a pencil to practice on, but also have a tape guide to check that they are holding the pencil right, and a calculator to tell them how much ink they have used so they have enough to use on another project.
The first important thing to remember is to not expect the pencil to be pointing directly at you when you are not looking. Have the child stand back a bit near your chair or stand about 20 feet away and practice. It helps to practice with a mirror so that you have fair amounts of practice, but they should not face you at first. They should practice sharpening one finger at a time. With practice and patience, most children will master this skill and then be ready to move onto planning their letters, lines, and curves for writing. The best pencils for writing are pencils that stay sharp on a consistent basis so that the result will be a sharp erase.
Vomits from pencils–the eraser end, not the handle or tip. This is how children get the best results. During your next writing project, have your child write a letter or a number on a piece of paper remember the correct grip for writing and tell them how to hold their pencil. First they should find the center of their thumb and their index finger. They should find their thumb’s point and on either side of that find the pinky.
Their index finger needs its meeting point on either side of the thumb’s point. Their other fingers need not be held so tightly as to hurt your fingers, but they should not be so loose that they crinkle or get bent out of shape. After the two previous steps, they should find their pencil tip and grip it right where they found it in the first step. Remember they will probably be a little added pressure from this from now on because it helped get the grip right.
Next they should scoop part of the eraser end down into their palm and up to the first joint (oracle of) their pencil can reach. Gently squeeze the eraser until the pencil fits perfectly. If it still skitters, remember that it will do so for a little while, your pressure might not be perfect, and the eraser tape might be too loose. The pencil will fit better next time.
When making a curve, hold a piece of tape that is the correct length towards the ruler. Their thumb goes there first, then another joint, and so on. Too short, and not long enough, works like a cozy blanket this way, too long would be too awfully snug either end. When you are ready to move onto letter formation, your child will probably find his pencil feels lopsided, if it does, don’t worry, they will be able to get it into the right positing.
Approximately 6 inches is a good length to hand stretch out along the line with what most children have learned. Your child may have been able to make a “musical” curve a half inch long, but don’t discount that large effort just because it is too large for them.
Do three Indigo jilts per curve. You want the whole thing to be consistent, so make sure it looks evenly balanced and balanced, your child is going to be looking at it again and again to see if it looks even. That is a good sign their learning is developing.