10 Great Tips for Teaching Your Child to Touch Type
I recently asked my friend if they were teaching typing in her daughter’s school, and she laughed and said, “Yeah, they’re so advanced they are teaching them to type with their thumbs!” I will say, when I got my first smart phone a couple years ago my speedy thumbs developed pretty quickly. However, I seem to remember the process of learning to type on a computer keyboard being considerably more labor intensive! Thankfully, technology has come a long way in making it fun to learn to type.
Here are some things to think about when deciding whether or not it’s the right time for your child to learn to touch type:
- Most children will not have the developmental and physical ability to use proper keyboarding skills until they are at least 7 or 8 years old, and should definitely be able to learn by 4th grade.
- Once your child is expected to type his or her work for school, knowing how to type will allow them to express their thoughts more quickly and with less frustration.
- The longer your child “practices” bad typing habits (hunt and peck), the harder they will be to break!
- Learning to type is a time commitment! Once your child learns where the letters are, consistent practice is needed in order for him to develop a muscle memory.
- When you start it’s about technique. Accuracy and speed are not important until technique is mastered. When my son is practicing his typing, he knows he HAS to use the proper fingers to hit each key. He’s SUPPOSED to keep his eyes off the keyboard, although I know he peeks sometimes.
Keyboarding is not taught in my son’s elementary school, so I had always planned to teach him to touch type at some point. In first grade, he started typing things in class, so I decided to teach him type the following summer, figuring that since he was 7 and he had enough I carefully researched what typing program to buy, and we started last summer with great enthusiasm. Let me tell you, that enthusiasm lasted about a week. Then he was crying, frustrated, and wouldn’t type without looking at the keyboard unless I was sitting next time, holding something over his hands. Skip to end story – we gave up. I know my kid, and I decided that this was a sign that he was not ready to learn to touch type. Skip forward to the beginning of this summer, and it was a totally different story! He was so much more cooperative, and everything when much more smoothly. Now instead of having to write “typing” on his list of things to do he is begging to practice as soon as he gets up in the morning. While his speed is only about 7 words per minute, he knows all the correct fingers to use and his accuracy is improving. I’m really proud of him!
Here are some resources for making the process more fun:
|From Fun to Type|
- If your child is not getting formal typing instruction at school, then I think it would be wise to purchase a curriculum for them to use. This website offers great reviews of a lot of different typing programs, and I used it to inform my choice (Typing Instructor for Kids). You’ll find that Mavis Beacon is another popular choice.
- Once your child knows the keys to use, have them engage in meaningful typing activities. This summer we typed letters to President Obama! My kids also love doing research and making power point presentations.
- Print out a picture of a keyboard and have them practice on it. My son made one that we put in a notebook and he called it his “laptop”.
- Practice in the car! If you know your keyboard well enough, you can quiz your child on which finger strikes which key.
- There are games galore on the internet! We have been using the games that came with our Typing Instructor for Kids program, so I don’t have a lot of personal experience with these, but it looks there are some good options at Free Typing Games, Type to Learn, Typing Master, and Poki Games.