The correct way to hold a pen for right and left handers is between the first finger and thumb.
The pencil is supported in the side on the middle finger.
The fingers should be positioned at least 1.5cms from the pencil tip to enable the left handed pupil to see their handwriting. If this pencil hold is established early on, the hooker 'over the top' pencil hold will be avoided. Vertical blackboard writing also discourages the pupil from using the 'over the top' hold.
The left handed pupil pulls the pencil across the page rather than pushing it across the paper as the right handed pupil does. It may be helpful therefore to try using a ball point or fibre tipped pen. Special nibbed pens are available for left handers also. Soft pencil leads also prevent the left hander piercing or ripping the paper when writing.
POSITIONING FOR PUPILS USING A CONVENTIONAL GRIP
The paper should be positioned to the left of the pupils midline and should be angled on a clockwise direction (i.e. to the right). The right hand and upper arm should be used to
stabilise the paper. The left side of the paper should be parallel with the writing arm.
Additional angling of the paper may decrease the efficiency of the writing. The back of the hand should be positioned in a straight line with the forearm to prevent the paper becoming smudged. Work sheets should be positioned at the top of the paper and not the left side as they will be obscured by the writing hand.
POSITIONING FOR PUPILS USING A HOOK GRIP
The most efficient hook pencil position is illustrated below. The wrist is turned over and bent with the paper angled in a clockwise direction. So the writing can be easily seen, the page is on the left side of the body and is angled comfortably to the right.
Check that the pen moves smoothly across the page which should be supported by the right hand.
Check that the letter group a, c, d, g, o, q, are written using anti clockwise stroke in the early stages of handwriting practice.
The left hander should be positioned so that light is coming in from the right side.
If the pupils pencil grip is tense they should stop writing intermittently and make a tight fist and then relax. Use carbon paper to assess if the pupils writing pressure is heavy and see if they are able to reduce this.
The natural slope of letters for the left handed pupil is slightly to the left. This is encouraged by practising drawing circles in an anti-clockwise direction.
Left handed pupils are more likely to have problems maintaining a reasonable speed.
Left handers should be seated together so they are able to learn from each other and do not get in each other's way. Activities should be presented in front of or to the right of the pupil. Light should come over the right shoulder to avoid casting shadows over written work.
A left handed pupil who has struggled with cursive script should have the option of reverting back to print.