Nowadays children are digital natives. They have grown up in the digital age and naturally know how to use different devices. Moreover, typing is an essential skill as using computers, laptops, tablets are an evitable part of everyday life. No doubts, every parent chooses themselves when to “expose” a child to the devices, however, it’s obvious the age when children start using devices is decreasing every year. Do teachers need to teach children to type? If so, how do we do this? What age is the best for teaching typing skills?
How do we teach typing?
There are two ways.
- 1. The first way: some children learn naturally, just by “doing” and having a practice of typing, e.g., playing some games. There are many apps or websites children can use. Here and here you can find the lists of tools you can use. The advantage of using games is that they are age-appropriate, they ignite the interest, as a result, children learn faster.
- 2. The second way is to study online and have certain exercises included in their course, so they get this skill, learn how to type “along the way”. For example, as we do in our Skyeng language courses for Primary learners. Students learn English and learn to type as they have to do certain tasks that include typing. For instance, listen and type a letter or a word; unscramble the words, do the puzzle and type the secret word, etc. I find this way of teaching to type quite useful as children do not notice how they gain new skills. Moreover, they learn to read and to type at the same time. They learn letters and find them on the keyboard which I find quite practical. In addition, they learn to match upper and lower-case letters.
What’s the best age to teach typing?
I would say that to answer this question we need to consider two main factors:
- 1. when a child is psychologically and physically (e.g., hands are big enough to fit comfortably on a keyboard) ready to use devices, it shouldn’t be very early.
- 2. when children know how to read or they start learning how to read, so they can learn to type at the same time.
As for me, I consider 6-8 years old as an appropriate age regarding all the factors.
What are the advantages of typing skills at an early age?
- 1. Children become computer-literate.
- 2. It strengthens their reading, writing and spelling skills.
- 3. Kids begin to recognise high-frequency words as sight words.
- 4. It prepares children for more complicated tasks later.
- 5. Kids will start to touch-type earlier.
- 6. They are less at risk for a hunt-and-peck method which is hard to unlearn.
Tips for teaching how to type
- 1. Make sure a child consider accuracy more important than the speed. The speed will come with time.
- 2. Have a child practise more. Practice makes perfect. The more opportunities to type they have, the faster they will gain the skill. It’s possible to practice typing skills even during offline lessons. Just bring keyboards or print paper keyboards and organize spelling games with them (children will love them!).
- 3. Do not hesitate. Give a child as much time as they need. Do not reproach a kid if they mistype or look for a letter for a long time.
- 4. Make sure a kid sits up straight and feel comfortable. Engrain healthy tech habits.
- 5. Do not forget to praise! Every child needs to be encouraged and get positive feedback.
I’m sure students will get the knack of them quickly!