My dad trained me from a very young age to be his secretary. If he was paying bills, it was my job to stamp the envelopes (with both postage stamps and our return address) and get them to the mailbox. If we were mailing Christmas letters, I folded, stuffed and stamped the letters. In high school, he taught me to write reports on everything from my faith to my new bike, just as he had to write reports at work. And somewhere in there, when my fingers could reach all the keys on a keyboard, he found a typing program that taught me how to type.
That seemingly simple skill of typing is one that has been hugely valuable to me. Throughout my teens, I sat at my computer typing novels. I’ve always preferred typing to writing by hand (something I do only when writing letters or journalling), because when the story ideas start coming, my fingers flying over the keyboard can actually keep up. In university, my typing skills helped me churn out all the papers required for an English degree… and then a writing degree. On social media, I can maintain a Facebook messaging conversation at the speed of talking (if only my friends could too!).
Did you ever realize that almost all text your child will write during his or her life will be done on a keyboard? (Click to tweet!)
Typing is even more important today than it was when I was a child. So when I saw the TypeKids website, I was eager to have Sunshine try it. Because she sees my husband and I frequently on the computer, she also enjoys using it. She’s been improving her mouse skills with various kid-friendly sites and I thought she might have fun typing—and it might encourage her to read and write as well.
TypeKids uses pirate-themed games and activities to get kids engaged with the keyboard. This was perfect for Sunshine, because we’ve been going through a Jake and the Never Land Pirates phase here for the past year or more. As Sunshine type the row of letters on the screen, a ship moved across the screen to show her how far she’d progressed. The more she typed, the further the ship moved.
As Sunshine progressed through the exercises, she also unlocked more chapters of a story about Captain Forty. By completing each lesson, she earned coins to use in the games. I liked the fact that she couldn’t start the games until she’d earned enough coins… and once she’d played the game, she was out of coins and had to go back to the lesson to earn some more coins. Even the games involved typing skills, as Sunshine had to recognize letters and hit the right keys.
Touch typing is the skill to type with all ten fingers and the ability to find all keys blindly, without having to look at the keyboard. After completing the 30 lessons of this online course, your kid’s typing speed will increase up to 5 times. This means that typing text that would have taken 30 minutes before the course will take less than half the time afterwards. ~Typekids
While Sunshine was initially excited by the novelty of a computer game, she soon found it was a bit above her head. I would say this website is geared for a child who can already read and write a bit, and has a bit more hand dexterity. The entire course consists of 30 lessons, each of which takes about twenty-five minutes to complete. Kids who complete the course receive a Typekids diploma to show off (besides the ability to wow their friends with their clattering fingers).
Think your kids would enjoy this course? Drop by the website to find out more or sign up for the free trial!
Typekids provided Sunshine and I with free access to their touch typing course for the purposes of this review; all opinions expressed are my own.