Look at the ‘How to grip a pencil’ poster and encourage your child to do the same. For more adult information look at ‘The stages of pencil grip in age’ poster. Holding a pen/pencil correctly requires just three fingers; the thumb, index (pointer) and middle finger. This three fingered hold is known as the Tripod Hold/Grip. Lightly pinch a pencil between the thumb and pointer and rest the pencil on the middle finger.
Warm up the fingers/hands with a variation of activities below:
- The Woodpecker https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ylA5OF9JWJ8&feature=emb_logo&safe=active
- Holding your pen/pencil towards the pointy end, use your 3 fingers to push the pencil forwards and then pull it back.
- Children can pretend that the pencil is a woodpecker that is pecking a tree (their other hand).
- Ensure that children keep their hand still and only use their finger muscles to push the pencil forwards and backwards.
- Start by holding your pen/pencil towards the pointy end.
- Use your 2 top fingers (thumb and pointer) to push the pencil forwards and slide it along the middle resting finger until your fingers reach the end of the pencil, (almost like crawling along the pencil) then pull the pencil back, sliding your fingers along, until you reach the pointy end of the pencil again.
- Try going the full length of the pencil, up and down a few times.
- Holding your pen or pencil in the centre with the three correct fingers.
- Attempt to twirl the pencil around like the blades of a helicopter by switching the fingers one at a time from one side of the pencil to the other.
- Look through the Letter Formation Families Posters and discuss the similarities within each family. State that we always start our letters at the top and only take our pencil/pens off the page for letters such as ‘t’/’f’.
- Now using the Letter Formation Families Paper Activity Sheets, look more closely at ‘Zigzag Monster Letters’ compare to previous letter families ‘One Armed Robot Letters’, ‘Ladder Letters’ and ‘Curly Caterpillar Letters’. Get the children to trace over each letter several times with their finger ensuring that they start in the correct place (on the dot) and follow the direction of the arrow.
- Next get the children to trace inside of the larger letters with their pencil.
- After that, encourage them to write their own ‘Zigzag Monster Letters’ on the line at the top of the worksheet.
For a challenge, get the children to write the following words ensuring that they are still forming ‘Zigzag Monster Letters’ correctly:
Feel free as the adult to model the correct letter formation for your child as an extra visual. Use the 'Large a-z tracing letters for modelling' worksheets or a whiteboard and pen.
Photo of the completed Zigzag Monsters Letters Letter Formation Families Paper Activity Sheets