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Video: The dynamic tripod grasp explained

Dynamic tripod grasp explanation video
Video advice and tips to help establish a good handwriting position, including details of the dynamic tripod grasp (the ideal hand position for writing) and why it's best for children to hold their pencil in this way when they're writing.

The dynamic tripod grasp is the ideal hand position for handwriting. Occupational Paediatric Therapist Catherine Elsey from the National Handwriting Association explains why  and highlights good handwriting practices.

What is the dynamic tripod grasp?

The dynamic tripod grasp is considered to be the best way for children (and adults) to hold their pencil. This helps your child to control their pencil properly, making their writing neater, faster and more fluid, and to write without pain. Pencil grasp evolves gradually as your child grows, but most children have mastered the dynamic tripod grasp by the time they're six to seven years old.

In the dynamic tripod grasp:

  • Your child pinches the pencil between their thumb, forefinger and middle finger, with the middle finger behind the pencil shaft.
  • The 'thumb web' - the circular space created by the thumb and forefinger, similar to the 'OK' sign - is round and open
  • The ring finger and little finger are neatly tucked into the palm of the hand
  • The wrist rests on the paper, below the writing line

Holding a pencil with the dynamic tripod grasp means the fingers holding the pencil can move separately from the rest of the hand.

This gives your child good pencil control and improves comfort. There are variants on the dynamic tripod grasp, and some children manage to write well with unconventional pencil grasps, but if the way your child holds the pencil is causing them pain or discomfort or seems to be having an effect on the speed or legibility of their writing, it's worth working on their grasp to help them master the dynamic tripod.

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