Ask the Experts

Clearing Up Bad Handwriting

“I have a fifth-grader whose handwriting is horrible. He can’t seem to write from left to right in a straight line.”

Before jumping in to get help, answer the following questions:

  • Is your son’s handwriting worse than other children’s in his class or grade?
  • What do his teachers notice about his handwriting? Is there a problem?
  • Does your son struggle with writing and complain about it being difficult?
  • Does he have trouble organizing words and numbers on the page?

If the answers suggest he has a handwriting problem, request that the school evaluate it. It is possible that he has dysgraphia and would benefit from using a computer to do his work, or wide-ruled or graph paper to ease the strain of keeping his handwriting aligned. Seek out advice from a learning specialist and request accommodations to help him work on his writing skills. The Learning Disabilities Association of America is an excellent resource for parents.