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Am J Occup Ther. 2001 Mar-Apr;55(2):175-83.

Pencil grasp and children's handwriting legibility during different-length writing tasks.

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Highline Community Hospital Specialty Center, Tukwila, Washington 98168, USA.



This study examined the influence ofpencil grasp on handwriting legibility during both short and long writing tasks in 46fourth-grade students who were typically developing. Matched samples were used to controlfor variability.


Regular classroom writing assignments were scoredfor word and letter legibility, and scores were compared using a mixed repeated-measures analysis of variance design. The two independent variables were pencil grasp (dynamic tripod grasp vs. atypical grasp) and task length (short vs. long).


A significant difference was found between the letter legibility scores on the short task and the letter legibility scores on the long task. Students' legibility was greater on the short task than on the long task across both grasp conditions. No significant difference was found in scores between students who used dynamic tripod grasps and those who used atypical grasps, nor was there a significant interaction between grasp and task length. No significant differences were found between word legibility scores.


The results indicate that although the students in this study wrote more legibly on the short task than on the long task, the type of grasp they used did not affect their legibility. Because of the limited sample size, the results of this study should be interpreted cautiously. More research in handwriting performance and pencil grasp is needed to provide clear expectations and treatment options for students.

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