How to Improve Middle School Handwriting with Spacing

how to improve messy handwriting in middle school

Do You Need Help to Improve Your Middle Schooler’s Messy Handwriting? 

Have you taken a recent look at your middle schooler’s notebook or homework assignment and been shocked at the state of their messy handwriting?

Maybe you asked them to read a writing assignment back to you and they could barely make out their own handwriting! 

Prefer to watch this content? Watch this video all about a simple strategy on how to improve middle school handwriting. 

You might be feeling frustrated and even a little upset because they’re in middle school, right? They should at least have readable handwriting by now!

In reality, this isn’t always the case. 

Instead, what your middle schooler really needs is explicit instruction in building the habit of clear, legible handwriting. 

How to Improve Middle School Handwriting with Spacing

Knowing how to properly space between words is a simple, yet effective middle school handwriting strategy to improve messy handwriting.


Here are 3 steps to teach spacing to your child: 

1️. Attach a meaningful “why?” to the need for spacing (and legible handwriting)

Before getting started with an assignment (homework, copying notes, etc.), tell your child that they are going to focus their attention on spacing between words.

Ask them why it would be important for them to leave spaces between the words they write.

Would it help their teacher read their handwriting more easily?

Would it help them read the notes they wrote down so they can actually study for their test? 

2. Use a visual cue as a reminder to leave spaces between words

Explain to your student that as they begin writing, you’re going to tap your finger between the words. This will be the cue to leave a space between each word. 

You could also use some small stickers (like stars or dots) to put between each word.

Yes, middle schoolers couldn’t care less about stickers. In this case, stickers are a visual cue to remind them to leave spaces between words to make their handwriting readable. 

3. Reflect on how they did with spacing


  • “Hey, how many spaces did you leave between your words?” 
  • “Hey, can we now read most of your words so that you can use it for studying?”

Help them to realize that just by remembering to leave enough space between their words, their handwriting becomes so much more clear and readable. 

Your student will now have to begin building the habit of spacing between words. It’s important that you provide them with support! 

Middle School Handwriting Tips and Resources

It’s not too late for your middle schooler to get legible handwriting in a way that’s useful in real life.

Want more middle school handwriting tips and resources? 

Grab my FREE Spacing Cheat Sheet!

Check out these other blog posts that you might find helpful: 

I hope this post on how to improve middle school handwriting has been helpful!

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