Graph Paper Improves Handwriting

threeboysSome 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, 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!

Posted in Classroom Management,Tips for Parents,Tips for Teachers by Corey Green @ Oct 28, 2010



  1. Hi Corey,
    This intrigues me. I also teach third grade and have a few kiddos who could benefit from this trick. How exactly do you use graph paper for writing? Do you require one letter per square? Does the letter have to fit into the square or use one square each for the sky, floor, and basement? Thanks for the tip and the help.

    Comment by Peggy — November 13, 2010 @ 8:19 PM

  2. I have my students put one letter in each square and leave a square between words. Students with poor handwriting tend to scrunch their letters close together, in addition to making the letters themselves indecipherable. The graph paper helps with both problems.

    The sky, floor and basement method sounds helpful, too. I haven’t heard of those terms, but I can see how they’d help students. Thank you for your suggestion.

    Comment by Corey Green — November 13, 2010 @ 11:20 PM

  3. I’m in 8th grade and my hand weighting used to stink. After reading this I decided to try and now my handwrighting is beautiful! Thank you!!!

    Comment by Kat — December 13, 2014 @ 4:20 PM

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