Pencil Control Exercises | The OT Toolbox

Pencil Control Exercises

These pencil control exercises are so easy to throw together and a sure way to help kids work on line awareness and pencil use.  Working on pencil control is a way to help kids with letter formation and legibility in handwriting.  When kids write quickly, legibility often times diminishes.  When kids have control over pencil strokes, they are able to carry over those skills.  There are many ways to work on pencil control in creative and fun ways.  We've shared a few different pencil control activities ideas that may help.  The pencil control practice sheets below are one that can be done quickly and in between classroom or therapy activities. 

Use this free pencil control exercise to help kids work on handwriting legibility.

Pencil Control Exercises

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Pencil control can be achieved in many ways.  Using crayons to help with improving pencil control in handwriting  is one fun way that doesn't seem like handwriting practice.  

Colored pencils are another tool that can be used to work on pencil control, like we did with these rainbow pencil control exercises

Below, I'm sharing how to use graph paper to address pencil control.  

But first, what is pencil control?  Glad you asked.

What is Pencil Control?

Pencil control is using the pencil to write in a way that is fluid and in control.  It's writing letters with changes in direction at a speed that is developmentally appropriate and automatically.  Writing with pencil control allows children to write letters and words on the lines and with in a given space efficiently. 

Use graph paper to work on pencil control:

It is very easy to work on pencil control with graph paper.  Graph paper is readily available.  Grab this inexpensive pack of graph paper, and get started!

First, it doesn't matter what size graph paper you use.  Younger kids are using less control naturally, so changes in direction in a smaller area are more difficult for new writers.  However, beginning lines and control with those lines can be used with smaller graph paper sizes.  

By that, I mean learning the beginning strokes of pencil control don't contain a lot of changes of direction in a small area.  Beginning pencil control includes starting and stopping pencil lines, line length, and placing the pencil and pick it up in the correct areas.  

More advancing pencil control, and the ability needed for smaller handwriting size can use smaller sized graph paper for more changes in direction.  

Use this free pencil control exercise to help kids work on handwriting legibility.

Pencil Control Practice Sheets

Using the graph paper, just draw lines, shapes, dots, angles, and shapes.  Then, show kids how to copy those forms.  They will need to keep their pencil on the lines of the graph paper, start where the model starts, and end where the model lines end.  

Get this Free Pencil Control Practice Sheet for beginning lines using graph paper.  This is a good sheet to start with for kids who are writing.  Kids who have never written letters before or are new writers may benefit more from pencil control worksheets without the graph paper grids.  

This free printable sheet is perfect for kids who struggle with legibility during writing, older kids who need to touch back on the basics of pencil control.  It's a great start for kids who need to work on visual perceptual skills needed for handwriting.


Other ways to work on pencil control with graph paper is using increasingly complicated forms and shapes on the graph paper.  Think: squares, X's, and up/over/down lines.


Use this free pencil control exercise to help kids work on handwriting legibility.


Use this free pencil control exercise to help kids work on handwriting legibility

Read more on pencil control and find creative ways to improve handwriting through improved pencil control activities. 


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