Then we went through a period in education when we only seemed to care if a child could write, regardless of the way that he held the pencil or marker. During this same period handwriting practice also seemed to be de-emphasized and we rarely actually worked on daily handwriting practice in the early grades. Instead the emphasis was on the writing process and the thought that went into the writing instead of the handwriting itself. My own son came through school during this period. Last week a photographer took this picture below of him signing an autograph at a baseball game and you can see that his pencil grip was never "fixed." However, he has beautiful handwriting as fine motor skills come easy for him!
So now I wonder... how important is pencil grip really? The pendulum seems to be swinging again to an emphasis on correct grip and handwriting practice. I have used several different pencil grips in the past, usually recommended by occupational therapists who are trying their best to help my students who really struggle with writing. I guess I will still continue to show students the proper grip, especially when they struggle with writing, and I will also show their parents the correct grip and reinforce as changes are made, because I know that pencil grip is extrememly hard to change after a child reaches age 6. Certainly we now teach handwriting in Kindergarten and then reinforce it again in first grade with more enthusiasm and rigor than we did even five years ago. Maybe this generation will have neater handwriting... or maybe we should just teach them proper keyboard placement!