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Learning to write systematically

Practising with beads

Valuable training for the relaxed, correct holding of a writing instrument.

In the past, children who hold a writing instrument incorrectly have been helped by this exercise when carried out over a long period of time. It is important that when a child is relearning how to hold a writing instrument, he or she should never (!) have to concentrate on specific content at the same time. Changing a movement takes up all of a child’s concentration; this is why this exercise should also additionally be carried out during leisure time or in differentiation phases.

This exercise should only be practised with the writing hand!

To do this exercise, you need a non-varnished wooden bead of around 10 mm diameter for each child.

1. The child learns to hold the bead in his/herwriting hand with the ring finger and little finger. At the beginning, a child might need to use his/ her other hand to keep both fingers in place. This exercise should work with one hand after the child has practised a few times. The thumb, index and middle finger can be bent. It might be that a child feels a tingling sensation in the lower arm while the exercise is new.
2. Once a child can hold the bead between these two fingers, the next exercise can be attempted. Now it is time to practise fine motor skills: threading beads, sorting marbles or small building bricks etc. – the child has to hold the wooden bead in his/her writing hand with the ring finger and little finger for the entire duration of the other activity.
3. Once this exercise is carried out successfully, the child can move on to drawing. The child paints and draws sweeping lines, large loops, arches etc. and holds the bead tight between the two fingers. If this works, it might be helpful to let a child work on practice sheets where he/she can trace his/her way through a maze, complete dot-to-dot pictures or carry out other drawing tasks.
4. Now the child can move on to writing movements. At the beginning, the ruling should be generous and should then gradually become narrower as a child works with the Jumbo Grip pencil, the twist pencil or the school fountain pen from Faber-Castell. Here too the bead is held between the ring finger and the little finger.

The exercise helps children learn to use their middle finger as the supporting finger under a writing instrument. If the middle finger remained on the top of the pen or pencil, there would be a gap at the side as the ring finger and little finger are holding the bead. The pen then cannot be held stably and it becomes virtually impossible to write without losing the writing instrument.

Thanks to the exercise with the bead, the child successfully finds a three-finger grip which will ensure he/she can hold a pen in a relaxed way and write without tension.