Writing is not my ‘real’ job.

*sniff

I work in education – yay!

Recently I have been studying the benefits of Emerging Literacy, and indeed focusing on a developmental approach to Literacy.  This work has been predominantly linked to work done by the Highland Literacy and the Northern Alliance where you can find a wealth or resources and research…I don’t want to bore you with the technical stuff!

By taking a developmental approach I have been able to record and track the progress, with regards to literacy in the Early Years across the Northern Alliance.  From this I discovered that 1 in 6 children starting Primary 1 did not have a secure pencil grip and that one of the most common difficulties children were having was the production and creation of rhyme (see next story – ‘The Wicked Witch of Rhyme’….and also appreciate why all my stories are written in rhyme!)

It was on the back of this information that I decided that I wanted to create a character, and indeed a story/book, to tackle some of these issues.


FINGER PRINCE was created with the aim of encouraging both teacher/parent and pupil to ensure solid gross/fine motor skills before attempting to hold a pencil and start writing.  He was also created with my daughters hand/finger print – clever right?!

Often children start using a pencil too soon and this is when bad habits can develop which can be tricky to reverse.  However, if we can ensure that a child’s bodies/muscles are ready then the likelihood of a poor pencil grip is less.


I decided upon three challenges with the aim of highlighting the use of the shoulder/body, then the wrist and then the fingers – it’s not just random selection!  I am still not 100% sold in the challenges set by ‘Hand Master’ so I am keen for feedback or suggestions.

I’ve also tucked a bit of growth mindset in there too for good measure! (Ugh, I’m such a teacher!)

FINGER PRINCE

There once was a King, the King of Hands

Who ruled his own Kingdom, and far away lands.

 

With his powerful pencil, he ruled on high

But one day he let out a terrible sigh,

“I’ve been King a long time and I’m now getting old

This Pencil of Power is too hard to hold.”

 

“It takes great skill to harness its’ power

To draw King pictures hour after hour.”

 

“Bring me my son, he now needs to learn

It will take some time,” he said with concern.

 

The Finger Prince arrived,  He looked very small

It was hard to imagine him, with pencil at all.

 

“My dear son” said the King. “I am growing old

This Pencil of Power is too hard to hold.”

 

The Prince stepped up

“Father, what can I do?

To become a great King, a King just like you?”

 

Taking a breath the King stood tall

His deep booming voice, echoed out round great hall.

 

“For many years I have ruled these lands

I am the King, the King of Hands.”

 

“But to be this King for all of you

I had to prove what I could do.”

 

“The Pencil of Power is hard to control

And mastering this skill is the only real goal.”

 

“For he who controls the pencil,

As I have shown,

Can rule this Kingdom and sit on this throne.”

 

“You must hold it high and point it down low

And spin it around and make it go slow.”

 

“You must dot all your ‘i’s and cross all you ‘t’s

And when people see this they’ll fall on their knees”

 

“Your writing must be strong

Clear and bold

When using this pencil carved out of gold.”

 

“Do all of this and you’ll be King of Hands

To rule my Kingdom and faraway lands.”

 

And sitting back down the King smiled at this son

“And remember when practising to always have fun!”

 

The Prince looked concerned but someone appeared

With an incredible pencil and a very long beard.

 

“To help, said the King, “I assign the Hand Master

He’ll help you develop these skills so much faster.”

 

“And when you are ready just let me know,

Please do not fail, I don’t want to say no.”

 

So Finger Prince and Hand Master

Started work straight away

They decided to practice at least once every day.

 

“I need a pencil,” said the Prince.

“To practice my hold

My father’s is heavy, it’s made of pure gold”

 

But Hand Master replied

“I do not agree, the time for a pencil

Will be decided by me.”

 

“What?” cried the Prince

“That cannot be true

Give me a pencil, I insist that you do.”

 

But Hand Master stood still

Calm and steady

“You can hold a pencil but once your ready.”

 

“I’ve trained many Kings, some thought they knew best

With the Pencil of Power they failed every test.”

 

We start tomorrow and do not be late

I’ll make you a King

A King that is great.”

 

And with that he vanished

Leaving the Prince all alone

To sit and to dream of his seat on the throne.

 

So very next day they started their work

“Why are we here?” said the Prince with a smirk.

 

The Hand Master replied,

 

“To make the pencil as light as a feather

Your whole body must work

Every part all together.”

 

“Place your crown on your tummy and crawl on your back.

Use both hands and feet you’ll soon get the knack.”

 

So the Prince practiced and practiced

‘Til he could practice no more

“I can’t do this,” cried the Prince

As he lay on the floor.

 

“You can’t do this yet,” said the wise old Master

But every day you practice you’ll get a bit faster.

 

And sure enough these words were true

The Prince walked on his back, crying “Look what I can do!”

 

“Now, I want a pencil?

Said the Prince, “I am ready

I will hold it strong, I will hold it steady.”

 

“No,” said Hand Master, swooshing his cloak.

And with that he vanished in a puff of blue smoke.

 

So the very next day they started again

“I just want a pencil, oh please tell me when?”

 

The Hand Master replied,

 

“To make the pencil as light as a feather

Your whole body must work

Every part all together.”

 

Hand Master pulled out a cloak

It was full of big holes

“You must learn how to sew, that’s one of your goals.”

 

“Thread this needle, in and out

You’ll soon master this soon, of that I’ve no doubt.”

 

So the Prince sewed and he sewed

‘Til he could sew no more

“I can’t do this,” cried the Prince, as he lay on the floor.

 

“You can’t do this yet,” said the wise old Master

“But every day you practice you’ll get a bit faster.”

 

And sure enough these words were true

The Prince finished the cloak yelling, “Look what I can do!”

 

“Now, can I please hold a pencil?

Said the Prince, “I am ready

I will hold it strong, I will hold it steady.”

 

“No” Said Hand Master, swooshing his cloak

And with that he vanished in a puff of pink smoke.

 

So the very next day they started again

“I just want a pencil please tell me when”

 

The Hand Master replied,

 

“To make the pencil as light as a feather

Your whole body must work

Every part altogether.”

 

And taking his Pencil

(While stroking his beard)

He conjured some magic and a piano appeared.

 

“You must play the piano,” said Hand Master to Prince.

“You played when  young, but you haven’t played since.”

 

“Remember to use every finger and thumb

And once you can do this our work is then done.”

 

So the Prince practiced and practiced

‘Til he could practice no more

“I can’t do this,” cried the Prince as he lay on the floor.

 

“You can’t do this yet,” said the wise old Master

But every day you practice you’ll get a bit faster.

 

And sure enough these words were true

The Prince played a concerto singing, “Look what I can do!”

 

“Now, can I please hold a pencil?

Said the Prince, “I am ready

I will hold it strong, I will hold it steady.”

 

And swooshing his cloak

Like a great magic shawl

In a puff of red smoke they were in the grand hall.

 

“Well,” said the King, “This is a surprise.”

“Are you sure you are ready, are you sure this is wise?”

 

“He’s ready,” said Hand Master, swooshing his cloak

And with that he vanished in a puff of green smoke.

 

“Oh no,” thought the Prince, “Where is Hand Master?”

“I can’t hold a pencil, this is a disaster.”

 

“My son, it is time,” said the King of Hands

“To rule this Kingdom and faraway lands.”

 

Holding out the great Pencil the King passed it on

The Prince took the Pencil…it felt rather long.

 

But it didn’t feel strange

It was as light as a feather

His body was working, each part altogether.

 

He held it up high

He pointed it low

He spun it around and made it go slow.

 

He dotted his ‘i’s and crossed all his ‘t’s

And when people saw this they fell to their knees.

 

His writing was strong, it was clear and bold

He could use the pencil, the pencil of gold.

 

“The King,” cried the people

They yelled and they cheered

(Hand Master was there, he was stroking his beard)

 

And he became King, The King of Hands

And he ruled the Kingdom and faraway lands.

 

And when asked how he writes with such skill and precision

He says it was down to one simple decision,

 

To not hold it too soon and to wait until ready

So when the time came he could hold it steady.

 

So if you want to be King then make your hands strong

So that when you are ready you cannot go wrong.

*disclaimer: I’m not an illustrator, just a doodler!

 

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