What is good English?

Worksheets for teaching English

What are the characteristics of good English worksheets?

Good English lessons need good worksheets that guide and support learners. We'll show you how to design and design worksheets that are conducive to learning - not just for weak learners. With English worksheets as a free download.

Three aspects are important for good worksheets in English lessons: a structured layout, clear text design and good methodological and didactic preparation. The latter should take into account the principles of a good job.

1. Layout and structure of English worksheets

Worksheets in English lessons must have a clear structure and also make this structure transparent (through numbering, lists, headings). Worksheets should be able to be worked through continuously from top to bottom. Work instructions for pre- or post-reading activities must therefore be placed before or after the text to be read. Rules or tips should be highlighted in boxes or in color. Additional emphasis, such as italic or bold type, should, however, only be used sparingly.

Reading texts should not be indented or broken by design elements such as images. Images attract a lot of attention, which is then lost to reading comprehension. If images, illustrations or graphics do not fulfill a content-related function, they should be avoided.

2. Clear text layout

Left-justified texts in sans serif fonts are easier to grasp for less-literate learners than those with serifs - in contrast to "normal readers" who prefer serif fonts. A slightly enlarged font is helpful. Increasing the line spacing has hardly any advantages, but increasing the character spacing does.

3. Methodical and didactic preparation

Worksheets guide learning processes in English lessons, provide assistance and provide working texts. Their role and place in the learning process should be transparent to the learners. Only then can learners classify why and with what aim they are working on this worksheet. Worksheets in English lessons should clearly point towards these learning and work goals and should be "tickable" for the learners. Weaker learners need more (pre) structuring. You will be helped by introducing and reducing the complexity of the tasks in small steps. References to learning strategies and short summaries of what has just been achieved can be explicitly integrated. Worksheets in English classes should be self-explanatory. Then the learners can work on it even if, for example, they cannot put questions directly to the teacher on a homework assignment.

Checklist: Worksheets in English class

English didacticist David Gerlach from the University of Marburg names the following criteria for good English worksheets

Work instruction

  • short sentences
  • new line for new sentence
  • understandable language appropriate to the learning group
  • states goals and requirements
  • calls the social form
  • indicates aids
  • names the product that the learners should create
  • names the way in which the results are presented

Structure and design

  • Place for name and date
  • clear structure: the worksheet must be editable linearly from top to bottom
  • Task steps are numbered.
  • Help is indicated
  • enough margin and white space for notes
  • no decorative pictures that are not necessary for completing the task, as they are distracting
  • If applicable, icons for the social form or the competence (listen, read etc.)
  • Left-justified text, no justification
  • Line spacing 1.5
  • no more than 60 - 80 characters per line
  • no hyphenation in the text
  • sans serif font

David Gerlach (2017): “Design matters! Designing materials for weak learners ”. In: The foreign language teaching English, booklet 157 [learning technology: visualization]. 44-48.

Good English worksheets, good assignments

English worksheets are in a teaching context, but are not the teaching itself. They fulfill a function within a teaching structure that clearly leads to a goal, a learning product, a competence to be trained, etc. in a target task. This is central to the materials and teaching suggestions for English lessons that Friedrich Verlag English teachers have with its two magazines Der Fremdsprachliche Studium Englisch and Englisch 5-10 as well as the digital offer Friedrich Plus Englisch. Convince yourself using the following free worksheets.

Worksheets for the writing task My pet

A good task always focuses on ONE relevant competence, which must be determined at the beginning of the lesson planning. Various functional skills and abilities support the learner along the way. We explain how this goal-oriented lesson planning ("backward planning") works using a writing task and the appropriate worksheets on the subject of pets for grades 5/6.

For download

Worksheets on film analysis techniques and creative task for a short film

Because of their shortness, horror shorts are particularly suitable for learning methods of film analysis. The learners find out, guided by several worksheets, which characteristics distinguish a horror film that is suspicious of goosebumps and shoot a horror flick themselves. They present this at an in-class film festival.

For download

Worksheets on English literature for young people

The learners visualize a literary figure on a character poster: In the outline of the figure and around it, the learners note external features, character traits, meaningful quotations, etc., which they collect on a worksheet while working on the reading. You will find answers to questions that are given by the teacher or that you ask yourself.

For download