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F is for Force of Pencil


Does your child or student constantly rip holes in their paper from writing? Do they erase so hard that it rips the page? Do they break pencil lead repeatedly? Or can you barely read their writing?


The amount of force placed from pencil to paper during handwriting can affect the legibility of the writing as well as the fatigue of the writing hand.


Some kids use too much force, pushing the pencil extremely hard on the paper creating dark thick lines that are often difficult to control. They may break their pencil lead frequently, rip holes in their paper, or shake/wiggle their hands due to their tight grasp and strong pencil force causing fatigue and soreness.


Increased pencil force or pressure can be caused by a lack of stability or strength in the upper body leading to overcompensation by holding the pencil tightly and pushing hard against the paper. Strong pencil force can also occur in children with sensory seeking behaviors as they are seeking out that input they receive from pushing the pencil hard against the paper.


On the flip side, some kids may use too little force, creating written word that is so faint that it can be difficult to read. This child may hold the pencil loosely, have difficulty controlling the pencil, and it may difficult to discern between letters.


This can be caused by fine motor weakness or fatigue or difficulty with motor planning as similar to the increased pencil pressure but rather than pressing too hard they do not press hard enough.


Handwriting tutoring can help address the underlying causes of pencil pressure issues to improve the overall legibility and comfort during handwriting! We can figure out the underlying cause and remediate in order to achieve a better pencil grasp, improved motor planning for writing, and increase legibility of handwriting overall. Let kelli@handwritingsolutions.org know if you want to learn more about Pencil Force!

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