Learning to Type by Touch

Memories of Learning How to Type

I have fond memories of learning how to type by touch. I learned in middle school, in the eighth grade, on a manual typewriter that had the keys covered with black electrical tape. At the front of the room was our teacher, with the ubiquitous projector and pull-down screen.

I actually enjoyed the class very much. I found it fun.

Later, at 18, I attended Heald Business School which encouraged us to get our typing speed up as high as possible. I remember being deliriously happy when I hit 34 WPM, then 38, then 40. By the 90s when I was tested at job interviews, I could produce around 70 WPM, and I think that is around the level I hover at now. Somewhere between 65 and 70 WPM.

My eldest, Dee, types almost 90 (I think). She can really crank it out, believe me!


Introducing Em to Typing

And in our modern, computer-filled world, I think that typing by touch is a must. However, as with everything I do with Em, I approach it sideways, kind of like a sneak attack.

I want her to love it too. I don’t want it to be a chore.

I seem to remember having a tough time convincing her older sister that learning to type by touch was worthwhile. Obviously, at some point, she agreed, because she certainly has me beat!

Last Christmas I ordered a stack of computer games and learning software. Unfortunately I didn’t know what I was doing, so I bought a bunch of outdated software, that might have been good five or even ten years ago, but now really doesn’t work well on our computers.

One of them sort of worked – and that was Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing. Which I believe is the same program (albeit somewhat updated) that Dee learned how to type on. I had my husband install it and, in true Sugata Mitra fashion said, “Here it is, I don’t really know how it works, play with it.” And then I walked away.

Oh yeah, and I added it to the weekly homeschool checklist for twice per week.

By the end of Week 1, Em came in and said, “I think I need to do this typing stuff every day. Can you please change the checklist?”


I nodded, secretly cheered and did a happy dance (all on the inside, mind you, for mine is the poker face) and did as she asked.

Last Saturday she asked me, “Mama, I haven’t learned it yet, but do you use your right ring finger to type the ‘O’?”

I nodded, “Yes, that’s right, Emily.”

“Oh cool!,” she said, looking quite pleased with herself, “I really like that typing program, Mama.”

Watching her learn…is…MAGICAL.


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