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School Blog English The '4 Ps' Posture, Pencil Grip, Paper Position and Pressure

School Blog


The blog for our English leadership team

The '4 Ps' Posture, Pencil Grip, Paper Position and Pressure

By Kim Ferguson, in English - Tuesday, 23 May 2023

The teachers at Fairlands are helping the children improve their presentation skills by getting them to think about the 4Ps of handwriting. Using research from the National Handwriting Association to promote good practice, we would like to share with you the importance of the posture, pencil grip, paper position and pressure when supporting your child with their letter formation and writing.

POSTURE - Poor posture can be a root cause of common handwriting difficulties, resulting in pain or fatigue. It will also present as a reluctance to write, poor presentation or legibility, slow writing speed and reduced output.

PENCIL GRIP - Children and adults use a wide range of different pencil grasps, often because they have not learnt differently or as compensation for postural instability. An inefficient pen/pencil grasp can cause discomfort, impact motivation, fluency and legibility and create difficulty in sustaining speed.

PAPER POSITION - Correct paper position is vitally important during the early years of handwriting development. Bad practice can lead to compensatory strategies, such as a hooked-wrist in left-handers. These behaviours are difficult to remedy in later years.

PRESSURE - When learning to write, pencil pressure is likely to vary depending on the demands of the task and stage of development. Most children will learn through experience how much pressure they should exert through the pencil onto paper. The shape of the writing tool and the way it is held, affects the amount of pressure exerted onto the paper. Trialling a range of pens, pencils and grips can be a good place to start.