Learning to type is a skill children increasingly need in our tech-reliant world. So learning to type — and learning it correctly! — is important to help set your child up for their future.
The use of technology is constantly increasing for children, especially in the school environment. Typing is an important skill to learn as examinations, including NAPLAN may be moving to a computer based system. BUT how can we expect our kids to start completing exams online when we haven’t taught them the skill to type?
Schools have introduced typing into their curriculum, however, are they getting enough practice and guidance to become confident in typing? We started to think about what typing programs were out there for kids to learn in their free time, that were fun and educational. Through our research we’ve found a combination of free and paid programmes — here are the top ones discovered:
FREE | iOS and Android apps available
One of the programs I have come across is TypingClub. TypingClub is a free program that provides great instructional videos that will engage your child and teach them about the wonders of typing. TypingClub is available online and as an app for Apple and Android! This allows your child to learn, not only on the computer but on an iPad, on the go! Your child will build stars and points, allowing them to measure their progress.
Another typing program that rewards your child with stars, points and achievements for their typing practice, is called Typing.com. Both of these programs are American, however they are free to sign up and available for Australians. They start off slow, which is great for beginners, only practicing two letters to start with, including ‘f and j’, allowing your child to cement their skills with the home keys before progressing.
A UK-based program on the BBC website, called Dance Mat, will draw your children in with the colourful graphics and animal characters. This program is free, all you need is a working Flash player on your computer to run the program. The typing lessons are broken down into four levels with three stages in each level. Level One, Stage One, introduces the home row, followed by introducing new letters in each stage.
PAID with free trial | Ages 6+
An Australian program I have grown to love and use with my clients is Typequick for students. It engages your child through a wonderful animated character, called Kewala. Your child will learn how to touch type, travelling around Australia, exploring different environments searching for new keyboard letters to learn. Typequick provides reports throughout the course, to see how your child is progressing with their accuracy and speed. This program will also adapt to the mistakes your child is making, ensuring they practice the letters they are having difficulty with.
This program has been developed for children from six years old, used throughout Australian schools. Typequick is available to purchase, through an online subscription from $30-$40 or purchase of USB/CD from $60 to $105 AUD. They do however allow you to have a free try online to make sure you enjoy the program before purchase.
PAID with free trial game | Ages 7-12 | Great for kids with dyslexia or spatial awareness issues
I came across a wonderful typing program, called Nessy Fingers, which has been developed for children aged seven to 12 with difficulties with spatial awareness and dyslexia. The program reduces frustration for children with spatial difficulty, starting at a low level of four words per minute to allow more time to find the keys. Nessy Fingers introduces the letters alphabetically, helping children with dyslexia to learn the letters in a familiar sequence. Your child will learn to type, exploring five different islands, winning trophies and rewards along the way! Nessy Fingers costs $50 (USD) for a yearly subscription.
PAID with free trial
Another typing program with a motivating and intriguing theme, called TypeKids.com, helps your child learn to type through the world of pirates! Your child will be asking to learn to touch type when they get to go on a pirate adventure, discovering treasure and playing games as they go. The program will adapt to the mistakes your child is making, ensuring they get the practice they need on particular letters. The typing course involves 30 lessons, costing $89.95 (USD), however there is a free trial to see if your kids enjoys the program before purchasing.
PAID | Ages 6+
Typing Tournament teaches your child to type through a medieval tournament theme, completing a quest involving 128 lessons, allowing them explore the dragon’s cave and more! This program has been developed for children aged six and up, progressively introducing the whole keyboard. It can be accessed through your computer, tablet and phone, learning to type on the go. Typing tournament is available for $10 a month, $90 a year or $199 for a lifetime.
PAID | Ages 7+ | Also helps with reading and spelling
If you’re looking for a program to help your child read and spell, as well as type, I’ve found the program for you! With a focus on typing, your child won’t worry or feel embarrassed as they won’t be aware they are also learning how to read and spell. Touch-Type Read and Spell has 24 levels with 31 modules in each level with an audio track to help your child learn the letter and the sound. This program can be used with children from seven years and over. The course starts with the vowels and progresses to words that enables your child to learn phonics and to touch type. This program also includes modules that remove the visual element, to encourage your child to listen to words and type what they hear. A home subscription prices range from $19.99 – $199.99.
Typing can be a difficult skill to learn, requiring a range of processes to have the ability to engage in typing practice. If you have any concerns regarding your child’s engagement in school, including their typing or handwriting, don’t hesitate to talk to your child’s Occupational Therapist or contact us to us to see how we can help them.