Wondering why your child has printing problems? Here are just a few of the common reasons for sloppy printing or handwriting, in no particular order.


  1. Visual perception difficulties. Many kids can’t follow straight lines with their eyes, can’t see diagonal lines properly, or can’t discriminate differences in size and shape.
  2. Many kids are actually drawing the letters rather than “printing” them.
  3. If your child isn’t confident with his or her knowledge of the alphabet, printing can be just as foreign as the alphabet.
  4. Some kids don’t understand that a letter can have a variety of shapes depending on the font. They are attempting to make every letter contain all the attributes they’ve ever seen associated with that letter.
  5. Some are impulsive, in too much of a hurry.
  6. Doesn’t know the correct way to print the letters. Either wasn’t taught or was tuned out for that lesson.
  7. Masking a spelling problem. Many kids that we see are actually trying to hide the fact that they don’t know how to spell. They will make “a” and “u” very similar in order to hide that the correct spelling isn’t known.
  8. Auditory processing deficit. Kids who lack phonemic awareness can’t hear the individual sounds very well. Most of the kids we work with can’t differentiate between the soft/short sounds for: “a” and “u” – “e” and “i” – “m” and “n” – “b” and “d” – so they make the letter look like it could be either option.
  9. The child is attempting to keep up with his or her thoughts and so is writing to fast physically, but not fast enough mentally.
  10. Completely overwhelmed cognitive/processing systems. Is too busy thinking of the words to use, how they are spelled, and how they are positioned on the page, to pay attention to the look of the letters.
  11. Trying to mask the poor writing job. Child subconsciously thinks, “It’s better if no one can read it than if they can read how terrible it is.”
  12. Disorganized thoughts.
  13. Not motivated to print neater.

Personal insight. As a child I spent many hours practicing my printing and handwriting. I hated it! And it never got any better until one amazing day. At age 22, I was working as a Senior Accountant. This was the early 1980’s so everything was done manually, not on computer. It took me several times longer than necessary to add long columns of numbers because I couldn’t read what I had written. I had to go back and look in files to find out what an amount was. Within a few days on the job my handwriting changed. I’ve learned that, in the long run, it actually saves time to write slowly and legibly.

We’ve seen amazing handwriting and printing improvements with our programs–without actually working on handwriting or printing. As the cognitive and processing abilities improve, so does the handwriting.

I think it’s because the child is thinking so much more clearly and his or her thoughts are so much more organized. Bad handwriting and printing are usually just symptoms of a larger problem.

What is going on with your child? Isn’t it time to find out? Learn about our Assessments.