Why is it important that my child hold his pencil a certain way?

It is important to use a tripod grasp when writing because of the way the hand is designed. The hand is made to have a side for power and a side for precision. The thumb and first finger are our precision fingers. The middle finger can work as either a precision finger (as in writing) or a power finger (as in threading a needle). The ring finger and the little finger are on the power side of the hand (this is why right-handed people usually open tight jars with their left hand as well as why we hold these fingers steady during precision work). The power fingers support the muscles of the hand and keep them steady so that the precision fingers can move quickly and smoothly. If one of the power fingers is recruited to do precision work (as in the four or five finger pencil grasps) the hand will tire more quickly and handwriting isn’t going to be as neat, fast, or fluid as it could be.

Why should I worry about how my child forms her letters as long as they look right?

Correct letter formation as taught in Letter Stories is essential for neat, fast, and fluid handwriting. It is important that the child learns to form the letter in the same way each time. This builds motor memory so eventually the child doesn’t have to think about how to form each letter and can focus more on the content of what they are writing. Also, learning correct formation of manuscript (print) letters leads to quicker learning of cursive formation later in school.

What are visual perceptual skills and why are they important?

There is more to “seeing” than having 20/20 vision.  It is important that the eyes work well together (oculomotor skills) and that what is seen is perceived and interpreted correctly (visual perception).  There are seven different visual perceptual skills.  These include:

  • Visual Discrimination – the ability to identify differences between two similar figures (used in differentiating “b” from “d,” etc.)
  • Visual Memory – the ability to memorize visual input (used in memorizing a person’s face, a geometric figure, etc.)
  • Visual Spatial Relations – the ability to perceive how objects or figures relate to each other in space (used in aligning words on a line and using adequate spacing when writing)
  • Visual Form Constancy – the ability to identify two figures as the same regardless of size or orientation (used in reading to identify letters regardless of the size of the font)
  • Visual Sequential Memory – the ability to memorize a series of figures (used in memorizing sight words and phone numbers)
  • Visual Figure Ground – the ability to find an object/figure hidden in a competing background (used in reading words on a page with a picture, finding objects in a messy drawer/desk)
  • Visual Closure – the ability to anticipate the outcome of a partially drawn figure (used when learning how to form letters/numbers)

How is the Grotto Grip different from other grips on the market?

The patented Grotto Grip (R) was developed by an occupational therapist to train the proper muscles of the hand while writing. Its firmness was specifically chosen to protect the joints of the hands and to keep them in alignment. Many other grips are softer and allow hyperextension at the finger joints. In addition, the Grotto Grip (R) has patented contours for the thumb, index finger and middle finger that serve to open the web space and activate the palmar muscles to free the fingers for the precise movements needed for writing. Finally, the Grotto Grip (R) is 100% for right- and left-handed writers. Many grips say they are for both, but they are not the same on both sides. Try Grotto Grip (R) to feel the difference!

Who should use RediSpace paper?

RediSpace (R) paper is to be used by writers in 2nd grade and up for printing and completing math and science problems. This patented paper is a hybrid between notebook paper and graph paper which allows people to write neatly and align numbers for math. Writers through high school have benefited from this technical paper to turn in legible work with fewer mistakes in math due to misalignment.

Are the lines on RediSpace too small for young children?

YES! Children learning to write should use primary paper with a dotted line. RediSpace is for children 7 and older who have learned to write and are now writing to learn. The spacing is tested for children ages 7 through adult to provide the perfect range of motion at the fingers for maximum pencil control and legibility.

E-mail questions to info@pathwaysforlearning.com