How can teenagers improve their handwriting?

It’s a common observation that numerous teenagers and secondary school pupils struggle with poor handwriting and lack the knowledge on how to enhance it. This issue may stem from inadequate instruction on correct writing techniques or, in some cases, a diagnosis of dyspraxia, dyslexia, or dysgraphia. The impact of messy handwriting often extends beyond the classroom, affecting schoolwork and grades.

Students may receive unfavourable marks from educators and examiners who struggle to decipher their handwriting, leading to judgments of being ‘lazy’ or ‘unintelligent.’ Research consistently indicates the correlation between legible handwriting and academic success. (H McCarroll, Cogent Education, 2017 )In light of these challenges, here are eight practical tips to improve handwriting:

Teenage boy writing


1. Correct posture 

  1. It is of paramount importance to foster a proper posture before undertaking the act of writing. This entails …i)maintaining a straight back, avoiding any inclination towards slouching or hunching over the paper. ii)The thumb of the non-writing hand should be positioned at the edge of the paper to provide necessary support, precluding it from resting under the table or beneath the chin. iii)Ensuring that the table height aligns with approximately waist level and facilitating the grounding of the feet further contributes to promoting optimal posture for writing.The conscientious effort to sustain an upright back is as a fundamental aspect in fostering both good posture and, consequently, facilitating improved handwriting.

Teenage girl writing

2. Use standard wide-ruled paper

Use standard, 8mm wide-ruled paper, Many secondary school pupils who have messy handwriting often exhibit a tendency to produce written content wherein all letters maintain a uniform height. This uniformity in letter height is frequently observed without differentiation. This issue may arise from using many kinds of ‘handwriting paper,’ contributing to confusion; In instances where the lines are excessively wide, pupils tend to abstain from reaching the top line. Similarly, in the absence of lines, children encounter challenges in maintaining a straight writing angle.


To achieve neat handwriting, use standard, wide-ruled paper that incorporates a margin. This particular type of paper is accessible via the stationery section on the www.magiclinkhandwriting page. Standard, white, wide-ruled paper is present in most school exercise books and commonly employed in examinations. Familiarity with this specific paper type enables pupils to acclimate to a consistent writing medium, resulting in the ability to write neatly, particularly during actual examinations.


3. The margin 

Many students seem unaware of the practical benefits that margins bring to enhancing the presentation of written work. Margins play a crucial role by serving various functions, such as organising numbers in an orderly manner, especially in the context of dates and numbered lists.Their inclusion substantially contributes to the overall aesthetic presentation of a student’s sentences, instilling a sense of neatness and tidiness. Margins also play a pivotal role in structuring paragraphs and indenting sentences for enhanced readability.

Furthermore, it is advisable to encourage right-handed students to adopt the practice of placing their left thumb within the margin. This practice not only promotes stability but also contributes to maintaining a consistent writing position. It is noteworthy that within the framework of the Magic Link Handwriting Programme, every page deliberately incorporates a margin, underscoring the importance of cultivating and advocating for sound writing practices.


4. Triangular-shaped pencils or pens

Opting for a triangular-shaped pencil or pen is highly recommended. The ergonomic design of this shape ensures a comfortable grip, contributing to enhanced fluency and control during writing. Evidence indicates that ergonomic writing tools, such as the Pentel gel pens with a triangular finger grip, have demonstrated positive effects on handwriting performance.

A triangular-shaped pen will promote good handwriting in teenagers

The gel-based ink in these pens adds an additional advantage by making handwriting more fluid. This fluidity not only aids in the smooth and continuous flow of sentences but also significantly contributes to increased writing speed. Studies have shown that the ergonomic design of writing instruments, coupled with the advantages of gel ink, can positively impact overall writing quality and efficiency.


A triangular-shaped pencil will promote good handwriting 


5. Correct grip 


Achieving neat handwriting is significantly facilitated by holding the pencil or pen correctly. To ensure the adoption of the proper pen grip, it is imperative to utilise a triangular-shaped pencil or pen. Despite the challenge of finding such writing instruments which are not always available on the high street, their essential role in achieving success in handwriting cannot be overstated. A dedicated page on this website provides comprehensive guidance on this crucial aspect.

Equally important is the need for pupils of all ages to receive explicit instruction on the precise positioning of their fingers. Encouraging the use of ‘frog’s legs’ fingers is essential, accompanied by a firm reminder not to wrap the thumb around the pen or pencil. This precaution prevents the obscuring of letters, ensuring that pupils can clearly see what they are writing, thus avoiding complications during proofreading.


Keeping an upright back is important for good postureand good handwriting

6. Differentiate letter heights

One prevalent issue hindering handwriting improvement is the tendency to write letters that are either too small or too large. Additionally, achieving correct spacing between words is crucial for effective handwriting. It’s not uncommon to observe uniform-sized letters, contributing to the overall appearance of immature and child-like work. Research underscores the significance of teaching students to differentiate between letter heights.

The 30-step Magic Link Handwriting Programme strategically addresses this challenge by instructing students on forming both ‘tall’ and ‘tiny’ letters right from the program’s initiation, even before delving into cursive handwriting. Research studies have consistently shown that incorporating such foundational elements into handwriting programs significantly contributes to transforming messy scrawl and fosters tangible improvements in overall handwriting quality


Happy boy 1

7. The simple Magic Link font 

Students are often confused when they are taught letters with excessive flicks and curls. It is imperative to impart instruction in a simple font, minimising curls and entry strokes as much as possible. This simplification significantly aids students in achieving neater writing, as the letters become easier to form. Eliminating lead-in flicks on various occasions has demonstrated a prompt improvement in legibility and the speed of handwriting.

Given that handwriting serves as the primary mode of written communication for schoolchildren, it becomes paramount that letters are executed swiftly and precisely. This becomes especially crucial during examinations when students face the pressure of answering questions within highly constrained timeframes. The Magic Link Handwriting font stands out by ensuring that each letter is crafted in the simplest and speediest manner, concurrently promoting both speed and legibility. In the exam setting, examiners can more easily read and allocate higher marks to papers that are neat and legible, in stark contrast to those that are messy or illegible.


8. Follow the 30-step Magic Link programme

Teenagers experience significant improvement when they engage with the Magic Link programme, learning a straightforward and logical method for forming and joining letters. Research studies have consistently shown the efficacy of the Magic Link handwriting instructions, highlighting the substantial benefits teenagers gain from acquiring this skill. The program equips them with a transferable skill that can be applied effectively to their schoolwork and examinations.

Contrary to the notion that teenagers may be too old to learn, the Magic Link method has demonstrated its transformative impact on many lives. The simplicity and proven effectiveness of this approach have made it accessible and beneficial for teenagers seeking to enhance their handwriting skills, resulting in tangible improvements in both written communication and academic performance.