Improve Your Student's Handwriting

With the ever increasing use of electronics and decreasing time of outside play, teachers are seeing an increase in poor handwriting.  Ask any teacher who has been around a classroom for more than five years and they will tell you that electronics are causing a large problem with handwriting.  Some years ago I spoke in length with an occupational therapist who serviced one of my students and worked mostly with their hand strengthening and fine motor skills.  She explained how the muscles worked and fine motor skills were born.  The important take away from my time with her was when she showed me how to use a rubber band on my student's wrist to hold the pencil at the correct angle.  By the end of the year almost all of the students in my class had beautiful hand writing.  Every year since then I have started the year out with handwriting bootcamp.  We review how to form the letters properly and if a student had poor handwriting past the whole group instruction they would get the rubber band and I would pull them for small group instruction.  Eventually, I couldn't keep up with the amount of children who needed help with fine motor skills and the rubber band trick became a whole group exercise.

When the Pencil Grip Company contacted me and asked me to review their grips, I was happy to oblige.  Normally I do not do product reviews, but I know that if my students need help with handwriting, then yours may too.  I did not receive monetary compensation for reviewing the grips but I did receive free grips to try with my class.  One of the things that struck me right away was that they have several different grips to meet different handwriting needs.  The fact that the rubber band trick isn't working for everyone now shows me that I need to differentiate handwriting instruction.
Here are some samples of handwriting improvement with the grips.  You may think that there is still a lot to work on, and I would agree with you.  However these students went from having illegible writing that didn't follow the lines on the writing paper to letters that stay within the lines after picking up the grips for the first time.  All of the students showed improvement while using the grips.

After using the grips in class, I wished that I had them from the onset of the school year.  I saw immediate improvement in writing for every student.  I'm convinced that I need to keep these grips stocked in the classroom just like I do glue, crayons and pencils.