Body posture for right-handed students:
1. A child should sit on a small table with a chair of the correct height. The writing surface should be near the bottom rib when the child is seated.
2. The child should sit straight and have both feet flat on the floor.
3. Both arms should be placed on the table. A strong and stable trunk is vital for good handwriting. The trunk provides the stability necessary for fine motor tasks like writing. Signs of poor trunk control happen when a child leans his arms or body on the table, or rests his head on his hands even during a 10 minute coloring activity.
Paper position for right-handed students:
4. Students should sit comfortably, with their writing paper in front of their right shoulder and with their left hand on the paper. Some students need to move the paper further over and this is also acceptable.
5. It is also acceptable for students to turn the paper slightly to the left (counter-clockwise) as long as this does not adversely affect their posture.
6. Allow students to position their paper and always have them begin at the top of the page. In this way the innate movement tendencies of a beginner will automatically follow the correct directionality that is left to right.
Pencil position for right-handed students:
7. The pencil should be held (not gripped) between thumb and forefinger, resting on the first knuckle of the middle finger. The pencil should be pointing toward the right shoulder. The writing tip should be about one inch) from the finger hold.
8. A loose comfortable grip is important for our hands. Most children make the transition from toddler grasp to holding a pen correctly by themselves. Students who do not, can be gently guided towards the correct grip by being encouraged to draw using a pencil grip.
9. If a child has problems with a grip, we recommend slipping a pencil grip onto the child’s pencil. Such a device positions the child’s fingers correctly on the pencil and keeps the fingers from slipping out of position. Pencil grips come in different styles, colors and hand preference (right or left). Prices range from $.30 to $2.00 and can be found at parents/teachers and office supply stores.
10. There is an alternative pencil hold which is usually favored by people with long fingers. In this position the pencil rests between the second and the third finger.
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Ramon Abajo, Handwriting Expert & Teacher of the Year