Getting a (Tripod) Grip

Published by September 1, 2016

Looking @ Tools For Writing Success

“Which grip do you recommend?” We hear this at least once a week.

Pencil grips: clockwise from the top-pinch grip, the original, crossover, claws small and large, and triangle, large and small.

Why correct the way someone holds a pencil anyway? Something this small must not really matter, right? Simply put; a bad grip is less functional. This leads to cramping, fatigue and possibly pain. Not to mention frustration and stress from continuing poor results….

Read on while we take a short tour through the mysterious world of pencils and pencil accessories. (Note, this only is going to cover #2 graphite writing pencils. Colored pencils and other art pencils are a different kettle of fish and out the scope of this blog. Also don’t forget the importance of fine motor skills, which is another post entirely.)

Let’s hit the main ones first, shall we?

All the grips!

Grips slip onto the barrel of a pencil to encourage proper hand placement

The Claw- comes in two sizes. Three cups placed around a ring. Pencil slides into the middle. One spot for the thumb, and one each for the fingers.

  • Pros-  Stretchy, can fit both regular and jumbo pencils (as well as triangular ones). Lefty friendly, once installed, it’s pretty simple to see how to get your fingers in. (Self-correcting.) As a bonus, getting to make that Toy Story reference.
  • Cons- Covers tips of fingers. This is bad if you have sensory issues or long nails. Can be tough to install or change pencils

The Original Pencil Grip: A small barrel with indents.

  • Pros– Lefty friendly. A semi-soft material, medium in size. Doesn’t cover fingers.
  • Cons- The L and R marks are hard to see. (Pro tip-Use a dot of permanent marker to mark the appropriate side.) A bit bulky. Like most grips, this has a learning curve.

Triangle Grip:Exactly what it says on the tin. Comes in two sizes, for jumbo pencils and regular. (My personal favorite!)

  • Pros- Simple and easy to use. Lefty friendly. Prevents rolling. Reduces hand fatigue. (This is also popular with crocheters and those with arthritis.)
  • Cons- Bulky and visible. Semi-hard plastic. Can be hard to fit on pencils. Not self-correcting. (It’s still possible to hold wrong.)

The Pinch Grip: A rubbery “bead” with indents. Better for medium to large fingers.

  • Pros- Small and lightweight. The least noticeable grip. Doesn’t cover fingers. Lefty friendly. Comparably easy to install, (with the caveat of figuring out where on the shaft to put it).
  • Cons- Markers are hard to see. Small size is easy to lose when not on a pencil. Very small and large fingers can find this uncomfortable to use.

Crossover Grip (aka, the one with wings): Most beloved of my fellow store staff, this one is self-correcting, it is impossible to use incorrectly. Soft and rubbery with a flat flap on top. If you’ve got a ‘hold over the top’ gripper, this is the one.

  • Pros- The king of self-correcting. Soft texture. Prevents rolling.
  • Cons- Touches fingers on the top (a real problem for some). The L and R marks are hard to see. (Pro tip-Use a dot of permanent marker to mark the appropriate side.)

Another option? Change the pencil

Some pencil choices

Jumbo or Primary pencils: Usually round; but also available in triangular and sometimes six-sided.

  • Pros- Thicker than normal pencils, so little hands have more to grab.
  • Cons- Heavier than regular pencils. More expensive.

Golf Pencils: Shorter and sometimes thinner than regular pencils.

  • Pros- Lighter than regular pencils. Lefty friendly. Small size is less more comfortable for some, most children like things “their size”. Also, a small size means less space for extra fingers.
  • Cons- Only available in big boxes. Doesn’t last as long, being short.

Triangular pencils: Available in jumbo and regular, as well as with and without erasers.

  • Pros- Naturally anti-roll. Shape encourages proper grip. Lefty friendly.
  • Cons- Not self-correcting.

Twist ‘n Write: The one mechanical pencil on this list, this one is…special.

  • Pros- Dual erasers. Lefty friendly. Has “handlebars”, and fun colors and glitter. Just put your index finger in the slot, and go. Well loved by OT’s and supposedly more comfortable for some hand and shoulder problems.
  • Cons- Looks sort of like a sparkly spaceship, so no hiding this one. Not very intuitive. Not suitable to very small or larger hands. Tricky to reload.

Got a neat trick to share? Did we miss your favorite grip (or pencil)? Give a shout out in the comments!

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