These apps help kids learn to type

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Learning to type has come a long way from the rows of fff and jjj. So intends …

Learning to type has come a long way from the rows of fff and jjj. The same goes for the target audience, which has gone from college students to children as young as kindergarten.

There is little agreement among experts on exactly when kids should start, but as they gravitate towards electronic devices earlier and earlier, some experts say they need typing basics at an older age. young. Dexterity, finger size, and brain development are all factors that determine when children can learn to type. Many schools start teaching the skill around grade three, but parents can find helpful online resources for almost all ages.

Typing is still the best

One thing that has not changed is that “touch typing” is still considered the best method. Tweens can whistle with their thumbs at text and young children can hunt and peck at high speed, but typing is the fastest and most accurate method.

Learning to type correctly involves resting the left fingers in the “home row” on the asdf keys and the right fingers on the jkl-; then move those fingers from there, each one responsible for hitting certain keys. Typists keep their eyes on the screen instead of looking at their fingers, allowing them to focus their brains on what they are writing.

“Whether it’s writing an email, rap lyrics or an important memo, mastering typing means you can spend your mental energy where you need it most,” says Daniel Merriman, chef. product for Typing.com, a free educational tool used by 75 million students worldwide. .

Learning to keyboard can especially help children with dysgraphia or other learning differences that make handwriting difficult, says Christine Elgersma, editor-in-chief of social media and learning resources at Common Sense Media.

[READ: How Kids Can Get Dysgraphia Help in School.]

Parents can help very young children learn at home by creating paper keyboards as they learn their letters, says Elgersma.

What to look for in an app

Denise Donica learned to type in college, but worries that even third grade isn’t early enough.

“If they use computers in kindergarten but don’t learn to type until third grade, we need to correct all these bad habits,” says Donica, associate professor at University of East Carolina, chair of the occupational therapy department and paid consultant for Keyboarding Without Tears.

For example, when studying typing in children, she found that many of them took the tedious route of grabbing a mouse instead of pressing the space bar, because that’s what ‘they were used to video games.

Typing experts say there are several things parents can look for in a typing app or website, including content targeted by education level, lack of distracting ads, game that holds back the attention, options that track progress (so kids can start where they left off), and comments that let them know if they’re making a mistake.

Here are some more tips for parents who want their kids to learn to type on the keyboard:

– Practice, practice, practice is the key to learning to type.

– Observe typing practice every now and then so kids know if they are using the correct fingers for letters (most sites cannot verify this).

– Make sure that the equipment is correctly installed and that the child’s posture is good during the practice, feet on the ground and eyes on the screen.

– Keyboard work in summer and during breaks, when other academic requirements are less.

[Read: 10 Fun STEM Activities for Kids.]

Five typing apps to check out

Here are some popular sites that teach kids to type.

Hit a dance floor

This site, created by the BBC, is free and does not require any registration. A visual of a color-coded keyboard helps children remember which keys a particular finger should cover. Animation and storytelling make the site interesting, and it has different skill levels to match a child’s education level. Animated animals take users through 12 different learning stages, each ending with a song. Its “keyboard ninja” section contains keyboard shortcuts.

Typing without tears

From the company that developed the popular tearless handwriting method, this approach aims to encourage children to use the correct hand for each letter. It’s structured by level, with speed and precision controls along the way. As a bonus, students learn more than to type because the passages are educational and adapted to their age. The cost is $ 9.99 for one year and one grade level. It does not offer a free version.

Nitro type

This free tool is ideal for kids who already know how to type but want to improve their speed. They compete in a car race against others to make it fun. It can also generate reports for teachers. Nitro Type does not teach the basics for beginners. But motor racing, with cheering crowds, is likely to keep kids engaged.

Type.com

This site stores up to 30 completed tests to track progress. Part of the practice involves individual letters, which can be less engaging. But he keeps track of the keys to the problems and makes suggestions on how students can improve. Spanish, Portuguese and English versions are available. The basic version is free and parents can use the paid version to remove ads.

Typingclub.com

This site is popular with schools and available in 14 languages. Children progress through plans as they learn the basics, but should be supervised to make sure they don’t skip the important basics before moving on. Although it starts with typing random words and letters, later lessons have an educational component. It integrates videos, games and comments. The premium version offers additional games and reports and eliminates ads.

Looking for a school? Discover our Directory K-12.

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