Some kids just have terrible handwriting. The letters are too big, the spacing is a mess, and their finished paper is illegible. I have found that using the first and second grade style lined paper doesn’t really help older kids. There is something, though, that does help them: graph paper.
It needs to be graph paper with big squares. You can print your own from math-drills.com, which is a good site for—you guessed it—math drills at all levels.
I like to use the ½ inch graph paper. In my experience, it improves handwriting immediately, but the child should keep using it for a few weeks until better handwriting becomes a habit. The graph paper really helps kids understand spacing, and lets them develop their fine motor skills within the realms of the little boxes.
I have found that it is good to turn the paper sideways, because otherwise the child will write a lot of hyphenated words that continue on to the next line.
The graph paper is also good for lining up math problems. It’s a lot easier to keep your addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division straight if you have the little boxes helping you line everything up.
Hurray for graph paper!