This free website is a valuable resource for adult learners who are learning to read and write for the first time or those transitioning from an alphabet such as Arabic or Chinese to English.
HandwritingPractice.net allows teachers to create handwriting sheets using their own text: letters, words, sentences, or paragraphs. The big advantage is that the handwriting worksheets are customizable: no more downloading pre-made, babyish-looking resources for our adult learners. Teachers can make worksheets relating to “grown-up” themes we deal with in our ESL classes.
It’s incredibly easy to create a handwriting worksheet:
- Choose from several writing styles and fonts
- Choose a letter style: “Dots” or “Hollow/Outline” for use with colored pencils or markers
- Choose “Same Content Each Line” to repeat text or “Different Content Each Line” for longer passages.
- Select formatting options such as text size/color, page layout and line color
- Enter text
- Create a title
- Click to print
Great for mixed – level classes:
In adult education, we often face the challenge of serving literacy-level students in mixed-level classes. For example, it’s typical to have some students who can navigate articles from Easy English News and others who are learning to read and write for the first time in the same class.
Here are some ideas for using customizable worksheets to help all students in a class work productively with the same text:
Choose sight words, key sentences, or a short paragraph from a text that the higher-level students will be reading. Make handwriting worksheets for both reading and writing practice.
- Reading: Literacy students use highlighters and look for the sight words/sentences/paragraph in the text. They get practice with directionality and recognizing words in different environments.
- Writing: Use the worksheets to give literacy students a chance to practice crafting letters, words, sentences, and paragraphs. It helps them learn not only individual letters, but spacing and punctuation, as well.
In my experience, these activities are great confidence-builders for emerging readers/writers in that they foster active negotiation of text and offer a point of entry to passages literacy students would otherwise consider completely out of their league.
I was also surprised by how often higher-level students asked for copies of the handwriting worksheets. They explained that they were embarrassed by their messy writing and wanted to practice.
Contextualized grammar & community building:
The customizable worksheets provide a fun way for literacy students to solidify their writing and grammar skills. For example, with a class learning subject and object pronouns, you could create sheets with sentences about your class. Students are never too old to enjoy seeing their name in print.
- Always print worksheets as PDF files the first time so that you can save them for future use.
- You can use the formatting options to set up “gradual-release” handwriting sheets where students first trace a sentence, then write it with only starting points for letters, and finally craft it with only the base, mid, and upper lines for guidance.