PENCIL C O N T R O L
Pencil control relies on precise motor coordination. Motor planning is essential for successful handwriting and, therefore, should be developed before formal handwriting begins. The writing movement must be a combination of finger movements and arm transport. A common fault observed in young children is to use only the fingers to control the pencil. Excessive bending and straightening of the fingers occur with little wrist or arm movement being involved. Before pencil-and-paper tasks are begun, the children should be able to complete the fine-motor tasks presented in Sections 2 and 3. Below are some of the ways in which pencil control and letter formation can be enhanced. Examples of pre-writing activities that use these same concepts are illustrated in Sections 2 and 3. Note: Shape reproduction is discussed earlier in this section under the topic Visual-Motor Integration, with the basic progression beginning with tracing, then copying simple shapes, and then moving on to production of letters. The pencil progressions for letters include:
The final stage is to use lines and boxes as spatial boundaries. that are freely spaced on the page. such as in finger painting. they should first be practiced by using large strokes. The progression is to reduce and vary the size of the strokes as well as the speed they are copied. For all these shapes. >• Straight vertical line (practice different sizes and different speeds)
. These basic shapes are illustrated below and should be practiced in interesting ways.173
A child has to master specific patterns to be able to commence writing.
>• Clockwise curve
Commercial publications use pictures with shape themes.
. as shown. These are relatively easy to produce yourself and provide a stimulating way to present patterns to young children.1SO
The way you can have children practice these shapes can be as varied as your imagination.