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Dr. Joanne Meier

Along with her background as a professor, researcher, writer, and teacher, Joanne Meier is a mom. Join Joanne every week as she shares her experiences raising her own young readers, and guides parents and teachers on the best practices in reading.

Keyboarding skills online

March 17, 2010

From hanging around the computer lab at our school I've learned that my third grader is learning to use the home row when typing. No more hunt and peck for her! How times have changed. I learned the home row in high school, in business class, using an IBM Selectric.

Kids need keyboarding skills, and both my girls could use some extra practice. The recommendation for early elementary kids is 5-10 minutes a night of practice. I wanted to see what's out there to help develop skill in a fun way.

Dance Mat Typing, sponsored by the BBC, was the most fun site I found. The goat's accent (he's Scottish!) may be a little distracting, but overall this one is fun, and was presented without ads. This is pretty much what I hoped for out of my search.

Learn 2 Type for kids (requires free registration) starts with touch typing basics. I didn't like the interface of this program at all. Ads run on the right column, and it really isn't designed for kids. There were no step-by-step instructions, and even though I typed my home keys accurately, my only option was to 'Try again.' No thanks.

The Keyboard Playground includes some kids typing games like Alpha Drop and Dino Kids Trash Typer. Typing practice is interspersed with ads. Just okay.

Free Typing Game offers very drill-oriented lessons, nothing fancy about the presentation, and I think most of the lessons teach two keys at a time. Sort of boring.

Learning Games for Kids had some free games that were pretty fun, although not many directions on how to play the games. I'm sure kids would catch on more quickly than I did!

So, overall, a bit disappointing! I guess we'll be Dance Matting for awhile. Please share any sites you know of that I missed.



This site has some practice games. It has advertising, but not too intrusive. I use Dance Mat Typing to teach kids how to type and the games as a change of pace and a way for them to test themselves.The site also has a typing program that allows you to insert your own text so kids can type passages on their own reading level, although this is not really a kid-centered site.

The goat's accent is from Liverpool England (where the Beatles came from)not Scotland.

QWERTY layout of keyboard is very un-intuitive for kids in the beginning. Once they get used to the layout, speed improves.-----------Vineet

My second grader has been learning keyboarding skills with Dance Mat typing too. She's been at it for a couple of months now and she loves it!

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