Why Is Typing So Challenging?

Typing Involves Many Skills

A typist must be able to :
  1. Move the fingers in isolation
  2. Strike the desired key with good coordination
  3. Use the right and left hands together (This is called bilateral coordination.)
  4. Sequence letters and numbers
  5. Memorize the key locations in order to type without looking at the keyboard.
  6. Apply just the right amount of pressure to avoid typing the same letter repeatedly.
  7. Maintain a good sitting posture and wrist position for comfort and endurance.
  8. Have good kinesthetic and tactile awareness to move fingers without looking.
  9. Abilities to scan the computer screen to find what is needed.
  10. Visual tracking to follow letters on screen as they are typed and while looking for errors.

Activities that Promote Sequencing Letters and Numbers

Memorization of common spelling words and sequences of numbers will make typing faster. It enables children to
look at the computer screen rather
than having the eyes glued to the sentence being copied.

Activities that
promote sequencing include:

  1. Step by step-drawing
  2. Stringing jewelry beads
  3. Origami
  4. Bingo using words
  5. Card games
  6. Memory games
  7. Movement games
  8. "Simon" game

Typing Pressure

Some children have difficulty regulating the amount  of pressure they use. They might benefit from activities which involve different amounts of force. Some suggested activities are:
  1. Writing on paper over a phone book, trying not to let writing show below paper.
  2. Writing on paper placed over a sheet of sand paper. The child must press down
    hard enough to see the writing.
  3. Holding and then cracking eggs during a  baking activity.
  4. Gluing feathers, cotton balls or other light materials to a collage.
  5. Using cookie cutters, then picking the dough up to place in a baking dish.
  6. Using tongs or large tweezers to pick up small beads.
  7. Using a  screwdriver, wrench and pliers.
  8. Playing musical instruments.
  9. Origami
  10. Using a mechanical pencil

Keyboarding Guidelines
Recommendations for practice schedules, teacher instruction,
types of computers to use, grade level expectations and evaluation methods.






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keyboardTyping and using the computer
 is so important these
days that
 it is taught in grade school, often
 in the 3rd
or 4th grade, ( I learned
 typing in 8th grade!) but

sometimes earlier when the child is having difficulty with
handwriting. Some computers are sold in smaller
sizes for
smaller hands.

Let's go over activities to promote the skills
needed to be an effective typist

Activities that Promote Finger Isolation
and Coordination

sparklerThe Sparkling Wheel requires the index finger
and thumb to work opposite each other. The
thumb pushes the lever to make the wheel
turn and sparkle.

spray bottle
The spray bottle also requires isolated
finger movement
and promotes coordination.

A piano and Flexigrip isolate individuals fingers.


Whereas, the telephone isolates only one.

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Activities That Promote Bilateral Coordination

Toys and games such as Mr. Potato Head and cards, practice with
fasteners, opening and closing containers and tools such as paper
clips and scissors train children to use both hands together. This is
important training before learning how to type. Gross motor games
such as Zoom Ball, climbing and wheelbarrow walking also require
bilateral hand use.


This toy involves grasping each handle. Wrap the shiny
blue center piece around the string by twirling it toward
yourself. Then gently pull the two ends apart. Pull harder
and the blue piece will  make an interesting sound and
visual effect as it quickly
spins. You can make your own
toy with a string and large button. Add loops on
ends to

Memorization of the Keyboard
Memorization of the keyboard is obviously very important
so that the typist can keep the eyes on the screen. There
are lots of computer programs and games that work on
these very skills.  Most of them involve typing the letters
or words that are moving across or down the screen.
Please visit the Keyboarding Resources for a list of free games.

Seating Posture and Wrist Position

typingKnees and hips should be flexed at 90 degrees
and feet flat
on the floor. The keyboard should
be below seated elbow
height and the the
keyboard base gently sloped away from
user so that the key tops are accessible to the
hands in
a neutral posture (wrists are level with
the forearm).
Sometimes a wrist support bar
can help achieve a comfortable
neutral wrist

position. The lower back should rest against the lumbar support
the chair.  Position the monitor, keyboard and chair in a straight line.
comfortable distance for the monitor is typically 15-30 inches.
Keep written
work materials propped up near the monitor screen.


Developing Kinesthetic and Tactile Awareness

yoyo jacks  juggling  cat'scradle marbles

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Children need a sense of where the body, hands and fingers
are in space
and good tactile discrimination to be able to
type without looking at the
board. They need to understand
the spatial relationships between the
different keys and
space bar and be able to quickly go back and forth between
the mouse and
keyboard.  Activities that promote these skills

  1. Board games
  2. Yard and ball games
  3. Card games
  4. Messy tactile arts and crafts with a variety of media such
  5. as glue, tape, paper mache and paint
  6. Arts and crafts which involve spatial concepts such
    as macrame, making jewelry or gimp 
  7. Name objects and magnetic letters in  hand without
  8. looking at them
  9. Musical instruments
  10. String games
  11. Games such as Jenga, Pick -Up Sticks or Barrel of Monkeys
  12. that require fine control
  13. Mancala, marbles, Jacks,  yo yo, juggling and other


egghuntScanning a page or computer screen means being
able to
find the details one needs such as a specific
math problem
even though the page is busy with
other numbers, symbols
and illustrations.

Early practice with figure-ground activities
such as in the Where's
or I Spy books or finding what is missing
or wrong in a picture 
help young children develop discrimination skills
on a busy page.
Ask children to find things in the home, items on a
scavenger hunt
in the park, eggs hidden in the yard or simply point to
details on a

Circling all the letters A or the words THE on a page would provide
to scan. For lots more visual perceptual activities, please
see the
page: Barbara's Perceptual Game

Visual Tracking

mazeReading the text being copied, typing and following the
text on the screen involves many visual skills. However,
optimally, the typist does not need to look at the keyboard at all. 

The term Visual Tracking refers to the ability to keep the eyes on a
moving target. Difficulty with this skill is a red flag that a child may
have a reading or processing deficit.  Visual tracking is also involved
when a student moves the pencil along the paper to write, complete
a maze, connect dots and draw lines with a ruler. Many computer
games involve visual tracking. Please read more information
on visual skills at: Promoting Visual Skills.

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Adaptations and Techniques to Improve Typing Skills

Information on where to buy the following products is provided at:
Keyboarding Resources

  1. Tactile cue- Place a small piece of Velcro on select keys
    such as F and J or the keys being practiced.

  2. Teach to type with only one hand if the student is unable
    to learn typing with both hands.
  3. Use of a key guard helps the typist to type only one key
    at a time. This is particularly
    helpful for typists with
    decreased motor coordination.

  4. Teaching Rings are attached to the fingers. Each has
    an embossed letter indicating
    the home row of keys with
    smaller letters for the other rows.

  5. Color Coded keyboards can be purchased or stickers
    used to code either rows of keys

    or all the keys to be typed with the same finger.
  6. Untraditional keyboards have different letter arrangements. 
    These are designed to be
    more comfortable than the
    traditional QWERTY pattern designed in the 1800's
  7. Clip material to copy onto the monitor. Place thicker volumes
    in a
    cookbook holder
    adjacent to the monitor. 
  8. Avoid glare. Move the computer away from the window or
    the glare of overhead lights. 

  9. Cover the keys with a cardboard box with area for hands
    cut out.  Once the student
    has memorized the layout,
    covering the keys will reinforce looking at the screen and

  10. not at the hands.   
  11. Word prediction programs decrease the amount of typing
    required and assist in
    translating thoughts into writing.