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Learn to Touch Type

Why learn to touch type?
"Given the ubiquity of keyboards and the growing expectation that secondary school pupils and university students will type their essays and coursework, I think it (touch typing) is one the most useful skills a child can learn - at any age from seven upwards." John Clare, Daily Telegraph.

With the omni-presence of computers, touch typing is a life skill in this day & age. In many other countries, touch typing is taught at primary school age. At Englishtype, we are passionate about teaching typing and believe all children should learn to type before they leave school. Be a forward-thinking school and add it to your curriculum, or at home give your child a head start by getting them learning. Read more about why learn to touch type?

Tips to learn how to touch type

Englishtype are experts in teaching people of all ages how to touch type and have been involved with typing for over 15 years, with many, many satisfied customers. We regularly teach children to type in just one week!

An ideal age to start teaching is any time from 7 years or older. Year 5 onwards works very well; we often work with Years 7 and 8. Learning to touch type before the bad habits of "hunting & pecking" are too well established is very helpful, it is more difficult to unlearn before learning properly. Year 3 or 4 is ideal - but we know some schools are working successfully with Year 2's. Keyboard familiarity is a fundamentally different aim to teaching touch typing, and can promote "hunting & pecking", so be clear on your long term aims before embarking on keyboard skills.

Englishtype recommends a target speed of 20 words per minute. In our experience, once learners reach this speed, they are much less likely to be tempted to look down, or in danger of reverting back to "hunting & pecking". Think of it like riding a bike, you don't forget!

In school

In school, Englishtype can be part of the curriculum or an extra curricular activity:

  • part of IT lessons, a morning activity before main lessons, a supplementary activity (e.g. with a T.A.)

  • an after school or lunchtime club

  • it can be a very productive activity for any children when other groups are occupied elsewhere, e.g. booster classes, Special Needs activities

  • post SATs is a popular time to run a curriculum course

  • covering PPA time is also a common usage

For parents

Learning to touch type at home is easy - the program contains everything that your child needs to learn to type, so you just have to install it and get them practising. Some children readily appreciate the importance of the skill and are happy to get straight to work (finishing homework 10 times faster is usually quite appealing!). Sometimes a bit of extra incentive can work wonders - if there is a very desirable present or trip you can consider indulging, offering it as a reward for reaching the required standard is often excellent for increasing motivation!

Choose which version of Englishtype is best for your needs; we generally recommend Junior for up to age 12 yrs, and Senior for teens and adults.

Note: you may find Junior appropriate for older children, particularly those with Special Needs, even up to 13 or 14 years. The simpler vocabulary and shorter lessons are the fastest way to learn to type; this quick start builds confidence and can boost esteem.

Cover the hands
learn to touch type

It is essential that you cover the hands while learning. You can easily make a cover from a shoe box or large cereal box, cutting it to the right shape and adding a bit of sticky tape. Alternatively, you can use a light towel or cloth. Some schools enlist the Design & Technology department to make nice wooden ones!

Customise a Keyboard

Some children may benefit from using a customised keyboard rather than a cover, particularly Special Needs children. This is often helpful for children who may get confused about which finger they are moving if they cannot see it. If a child is struggling with accuracy in the first couple of lessons, consider using a customised keyboard for them. Sometimes this can be an enormous help in learning to touch type successfully. We recommend 2 different options, either a blank keyboard where the letters are covered/blanked out or a keyboard painted to match Englishtype's colour scheme. Keyboards can be purchased cheaply on the internet or in computer stores, then you can adapt it with paint or stickers. Making sure the that F and J keys are easily identified by touch is also very helpful, e.g. little pieces of Velcro or add sand to the paint.

learn to type        how to touch type
Typing by touch

Learning to type without looking means the typing is learned as a physical skill right from the beginning; looking at the hands while learning engages the brain differently and changes the skill acquisition. Peeking just means longer learning time in the end! Englishtype can supply cardboard covers for schools, do contact us for information.

Practising

Teaching as intensively as possible is the most efficient and effective way to learn to type, daily practice is ideal. This way, you can learn in 5 or 6 days; you need about 10 hours of learning, a couple of hours a day (with breaks) can deliver outstanding results. At home, it makes an ideal holiday project. Some schools choose a time when they are able to change their normal timetable for a week to accommodate an intensive course like post SAT's or Common Entrance, e.g. a double lesson a day, or 2-3 single lessons a day is ideal (and provides the natural breaks of the timetable). However, this often isn't practical so the simple rule of thumb is the more often the better. If practice is only once a week, it will take longer to learn to type (it's like learning to drive, you can learn in a week, or in 5 years, it depends on how often you practise).

Special Needs children may often need a little longer to learn and should be offered and encouraged to take extra time.

Many schools encourage the children to have the home version of the software, so that they can practise every day. Englishtype can supply schools with discounted Home User versions for their pupils, please contact us.


Touch typing and Englishtype in the news...
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The BBC News Logo    The Englishtype Logo    The Guardian Logo    The Times Educational Suppliment Logo

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