Half Pencils

Here’s a quick little thought/frustration of mine: Please, please, let kindergarteners (and first graders) (and I’d even say second graders!) use half-pencils instead of full pencils.

I say “let” because I keep having to write it into IEPs as an accommodation. I wish it was just the normal!

Children’s hands are 4-5 inches in circumference. Adult hands are 7-8 inches in circumference. And yet adults and very small children alike are expected to use 7.5 inch long pencils.

The equivalent ratio for an adult (using some averages) would be using a 12.5 inch long pencil about as wide as a thick marker! Imagine how unwieldy that would be. Add an eraser to the end of it and now you’ve got even more weight counterbalancing all of the fine motor control you’re trying to do at the pencil end. And all of that with muscles that are brand-new to fine motor control at all and not very coordinated at it…so imagine, really, trying to write with a 12.5 inch long pencil with your non-dominant hand.

You might very well get referred to me for OT when all you needed in the first place was a writing utensil the right size for your hand, from the beginning (not as a special accommodation)!

[Image description: A simple photograph of a regular-sized pencil and a half-sized, shortened pencil side by side. End description.]