Cumberland Times-News

Local News

March 20, 2014

Local inventors create device to improve child writing skills

‘Write Away’ assists students who have trouble with hand strength

CUMBERLAND — Two local inventors recently joined forces to find a way to help pre-K through elementary school students find a way to develop better writing habits and improve penmanship.

Jim Kreiger, 54, of Cumberland and Joe Godlewski, 78, of Cresaptown worked together to invent a device they call the “Write Away.”

The device is a flexible circle that is placed on the thumb. A smaller slot mounted on the side of the circle is used to hold the pencil or pen. The result is an inexpensive, low-tech method of assisting students who have trouble with hand strength and coordination when writing.

“The original idea was Joe’s,” said Kreiger.

Godlewski, who has been inventing his entire life, saw a need and wanted to help.

“I saw that kids were having a terrible time holding their pencil,” said Godlewski, “so I started on it.”

Godlewski said he observed kids several years ago trying to fill out forms and they couldn’t hold the pencil properly. The team of Kreiger and Godlewski found out when studying the problem that there is an entire science behind the act of hand writing.

“Kids can have a host of problems, including lacking dexterity,” said Kreiger.

Godlewski and Kreiger worked on finding a device that would help the kids maintain the pencil in the correct position.

“Jim made the first prototype,” said Godlewski.

The Write Away allows a pencil to be held in the optimum position while giving the student more control over the instrument. It also allows the student to develop muscle strength and improve coordination. The result will hopefully be an improved writer who will eventually no longer need the device.

“It really does the job. It works fine,” said Godlewski.

“When it was tried, there was immediate improvement,” said Kreiger.

Godlewski said he watched 4-year-old children with the device on being able to color within the lines.

Godlewski and Kreiger have gotten a provisional patent on the Write Away. They said other devices are on the market, but many are far more expensive. The Write Away is expected to cost around $2 to $3.

“It has applications for adults as well,” said Kreiger.

The duo has taken the Write Away to the Allegany County Board of Education. School officials are currently reviewing the device and studying its potential.

“We have found that we need to have them in a range of sizes,” said Kreiger.

“I could not have done it without Jim. He is good at helping to bring things to fruition,” said Godlewski.

Kreiger and Godlewski said they have gained a lot of satisfaction from the effort.

“There are a good number of children that could benefit from this,” said Kreiger.

Greg Larry can be contacted at glarry@times-news.com

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