When my husband and I first met we held hands a lot. When my daughter came along we both held her hands, with her in the middle of the two of us. I still enjoy those moments when we're walking side by side and he slips his hand in mine. So subtly, so gently, and so unexpectedly.
When my daughter was learning to walk we held her hands to support those first steps. Later, we would hold her hands to reassure her and ourselves that she was safe. Even though she's a teenager, we often hold hands in the car. She IS after all, my Best Big Girl. Believe me, you won't see this happen in public. Just between you and me, I don't think she wants anyone to know.
When I'm walking with my students in the hallway, a little hand often slips in mine. This is usually the little one in the front of the line. Then another decides they want in on the action, and sometimes another. Once I had a whole group trying to hold my hand at one time.
When my first graders are learning to read, I hold their hands through the process and then I gently let go. I let go to allow them to try the strategies on their own. When I read aloud to my students, I'm holding their hands as I model what fluent reading sounds like. Holding their hands through the reading process is not a crutch, it's a support.
When my students are working on their writing, they hold the hands of other writers through the mentor texts that we use to inspire our writing. The writers of these texts model organizational choices, inspire ideas, and demonstrate craft moves that we attempt in our own writing. These writers hold our hands through their books. It's not a crutch, it's a support.
Holding hands is such an important gesture. It provides a scaffold for life and learning. It's not a crutch, It's a support. It's often done subtly, gently, and unexpectedly. How many hands did you hold today?