How's your handwriting?? Can I just admit that mine is awful? My sloppy print got me in trouble in elementary and my illegible cursive is far worse. In fact, my hubby teases me so much that I refuse to write anything in cursive other than my signature. And I'm the one teaching my kids how to write! This cannot be good! I need all the help I can get.
So, I was so excited when I was approached about the opportunity to review Zaner Bloser Fonts Online from Zaner Bloser Handwriting. I have 3 kids at various stages of learning to write so we spend a lot of our time on handwriting!
What is it?
ZB Fonts Online is a tool for creating customized handwriting practice pages. Using the online template you can select a grade level from Kindergarten (with the largest lines) up to Grades 5-8 (with the narrowest lines). There are several template pages from which to choose:
- Blank Page with guidelines
- Blank Page with no guidelines
- Spelling Page
- Story Page
- Vocabulary Page
You can print blank handwriting pages or type directly into the template to create a customized handwriting worksheet in either manuscript or cursive. There is even the option to add Spanish characters so the copywork can be a reinforcement of Spanish language lessons.
As you select and use the templates, you can continue adding more pages, creating a handwriting practice book. This allows you to choose your own spelling words, vocabulary words, sentences, or stories to be copied. As you add pages, you can save your project until you are ready to print.
A free version of ZB Fonts is available, although this version does not allow you to save and edit your project or use the story page template.
The upgraded paid version of ZB Fonts Online Plus,which includes all the features, is available for $31.99 for one year of access.
Discount: Enter code ZBFOP at checkout to receive the premium version of ZB Fonts Online for only $14.99. Expires 12/31/2013
How did we use it?
I've never been able to find a copywork book that was just the right fit for us. So that means that I've always had to create my own copybooks or copywork pages. This can be so tedious!!!
With ZB Fonts, I was able to use the provided templates and enter my own content on all the pages and even add graphics and pictures to the story pages. This program made creating my own handwriting pages simple and efficient.
I created some story pages for Curly. I used the story pages and inserted an image at the top to be used as a writing prompt. I also created vocabulary practice pages using some of her vocabulary words that we have encountered in her read alouds. On these pages, there is a blank box after the words for Curly to draw a picture to illustrate the meaning of each word. I used the blank pages with guidelines to type verses and poems for her to practice. Her very favorite page (can you hear the sarcasm??) was the spelling page where I entered her spelling words on one line for her to copy them below. I also created spelling pages with her missed words from each week. She really enjoyed the story pages with pictures.
For Tiger, I used the blank pages with guidelines and typed the words that he has learned to sound out. He spent his time carefully copying these words from his readers. He was so excited that he could actually read his copywork pages since they were customized to only include the words he knows how to read. I also used the vocabulary pages for Tiger. I typed the words from his readers on the lines and he read them to me and then illustrated them in the provided blank box.
Bee was not to be left out. I created her pages of the alphabet. I typed each letter into the blank pages with guidelines, leaving a space after each letter for her to practice copying them. We sat together and copied all the letters for practice.
What didn't we like?
Not having a teacher's aide to help me create pages! But using this program with the provided templates is a much faster method for creating copywork pages, so it does cut my time in half. The only hard part is just choosing the content. (I'm rather indecisive at times....)
Using the online program means lots of printing if you create your own handwriting practice books. So, have your printer and ink ready to go!
What did we like?
My favorite aspect of the program is the ease of use. I'm not very tech savvy, but I had no trouble using the program, exploring the options, creating pages, editing my pages, and then printing the finished product. There are enough options to create a variety of pages without being overwhelming.
I love that I can choose the width of the handwriting lines by choosing a grade level. This means the program works for my 3 oldest kids and can be customized to their level.
I appreciated how I could easily insert my own content to our pages and create a personalized copywork book for each of my kids.
I love the pages with the 3 guidelines-a top and bottom line with a dashed line in the middle. My kids need those guidelines!
What did we think overall?
Because I prefer to use my own content for our copywork, I plan to continue creating my own assignments and handwriting pages. Therefore, this program is a perfect fit for us. I can easily log in, create and save my pages, creating a handwriting book for each child. I will continue using this program and plan to create Curly a cursive copybook for when she's ready to begin cursive. Until then we're going to keep practicing away with our handwriting pages and hopefully through the continued practice, my kids will have handwriting more legible than mine!
Disclaimer: I received free access to this online product in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are mine.