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!

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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 Unfortunately I didn’t know what I was doing, so I bought a bunch of outdated software, that might have been good five or even ten years ago, but now really doesn’t work well on our computers.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?”

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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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