Did you know pencil control is a huge part of handwriting legibility? Here, we’ll cover the definition of pencil control, how to impact this important handwriting skill, and strategies to make pencil movements fluent and dexterous using handwriting activities are all dedicated to improving pencil strokes needed for improved legibility. Be sure to check out these pencil control exercises we’ve previously shared.
What is Pencil Control?
Pencil control refers to the handwriting skill needed to hold and manipulate a pencil during handwriting tasks. Controlled pencil movements requires the ability to hold a pencil with a functional grasp during handwriting. This includes underlying components such as sensory processing, visual motor and fine motor aspects in order to:
- Manipulate the writing utensil within the hand
- Efficiently and effectively stopping and starting on lines
- Form letters including pencil turns in direction
- Managing minute pencil strokes within a given writing space
- Writing at functional speeds
- Moving the pencil within the hand to adjust or rotate the pencil
- Moving the pencil within the hand to erase and then write again
- Shifting the pencil up and down within the pencil grasp
- Writing at an appropriate pencil pressure
All of these motor skills require control of the writing utensil, with input from the proprioceptive sensory system. Each area above requires fine motor skills.
Essentially, it is the development of pre-writing skills that enable control which allow a student to consistently write legibly even when required to write at faster writing speeds. When those pre-writing skills are not established during the younger years, controlled pencil movements are an issue that impacts handwriting legibility in the older ages.
Pencil Control Worksheets
In pencil control worksheets, like in our Fine Motor Kits, you’ll discover many fine motor worksheets that can be used to work on controlled pencil movements, changes in direction, pencil pressure, and shift within the hand. These activities use a handwriting/fine motor worksheet to improve fine motor dexterity and pencil manipulation.
Pencil control worksheets on our site include:
- Pencil control worksheets you can make at home
- Pencil Control Strips and Self-Assessment
- Fall Fine Motor Worksheets
- Spring Fine Motor Worksheets
- Christmas pencil control worksheets
Ideas for quick and easy ways to improve controlled pencil movements include:
- Using graph paper to make squares and diagonal lines
- Drawing small shapes
- Word searches
- Crossword puzzle
- Box-dot handwriting
- Ghost writing activities
- Direction change activities on worksheets
Pencil Control Activities
Working on dexterity and manipulation skills in handwriting? Why not start a handwriting club for kids? Kids can work on handwriting skills in a fun way. Here’s how to start a handwriting club kids will WANT to join!
Clay Fine Motor Strengthening Activity
Christmas Pencil Control Activity
Pencil skills are one of the main fine motor and precision skills addressed in our Fine Motor Kits. Each kit includes pencil precision worksheets that help with functional handwriting.
Use these Fine Motor Kits for hands-on activity kits to develop fine motor skills, strength, dexterity, and manipulation. Kids LOVE these fine motor kits for the motivating activities. Therapists love them because it’s fresh, fun ways to work on pinch, grip, manipulation skills, and much more. Try some of these themed therapy kits:
- Fall Fine Motor Kit
- Winter Fine Motor Kit
- Spring Fine Motor Kit
- Summer Fine Motor Kit
- Frogs and Toads Themed Fine Motor Kit
- Letters! Fine Motor Kit
- Outer Space Themed Fine Motor Kit
- Valentine’s Day Fine Motor Kit
- Penguin Themed Fine Motor Kit
- Snowman Themed Fine Motor Kit
Colleen Beck, OTR/L has been an occupational therapist since 2000, working in school-based, hand therapy, outpatient peds, EI, and SNF. Colleen created The OT Toolbox to inspire therapists, teachers, and parents with easy and fun tools to help children thrive. Read her story about going from an OT making $3/hour (after paying for kids’ childcare) to a full-time OT resource creator for millions of readers. Want to collaborate? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.