Read and Spell Blog

How to touch type

How to touch type

People have been learning how to type since the late 1800s when typing classes were first developed for court stenographers and other professionals using typewriters. The practice has certainly come a long way since then and there are more than a few new keys that have been added (delete for example!).

However, mastering the basics of correct hand and finger positioning has generally remained the same. That’s because touch-typing is about automatizing a set of muscles and training your fingers to type the letters you need to spell English words on the QWERTY keyboard. The more you practice with common key and letter sequences, the easier they will become.

How to improve typing speed in a few easy steps

How to improve typing speed

If you’re interested in improving your typing speed you’re not alone. Many people would like to type faster so they can work more efficiently, whether it be for essay writing at school, typing up reports at the office or responding to personal emails and message chats.

If a keyboard is involved, touch-typing is the best solution. It takes less time and means you can translate your message through the use of muscles in the fingers. You’ll automatically turn your ideas into text without having to think about how to hold a pen for comfort. You’ll also make fewer errors and improve your spelling too.

Why is keyboarding important

Why is keyboarding important?

There are many reasons why keyboarding is preferred over the “Hunt-and-peck” method of using a computer. Touch typing enhances accuracy as you harness muscle memory in the fingers to assist with spelling. So what do we mean by muscle memory?

Once you have mastered the fingering on the keyboard, and consistently use the same finger for a letter, you automatically remember where the finger goes without conscious thought.

Touch typing for dyslexics

Touch typing for dyslexics

For a significant number of children and adults, developing strong literacy skills requires overcoming the challenges posed by specific learning differences, such as dyslexia. Dyslexia impacts on reading, writing and spelling abilities but can also cause individuals to suffer from low self-esteem and lack confidence in the classroom.

While it is something people have for life, technology and strategy use can make language-based activities easier. For example, typing on a computer gives children and adults access to spell-checkers and helpful text-to-speech tools.

Mnemonic devices aid with learning the spelling of hard words. Memorizing high frequency vocabulary reduces the cognitive load involved in reading. Additionally, dyslexics who have had training in touch typing can reinforce phonics knowledge, use muscle memory to learn word spellings, and facilitate the translation of ideas into written language.

This renders the writing process less frustrating and makes composing written work more fluid and effective.

Typing tips for beginners

Typing tips for beginners

In your first touch typing lesson, you will learn how to place your hands on the keyboard, recognize the home row keys and type using the correct fingers. As you progress through a course, each new lesson introduces a handful of keys for you to practice until you feel comfortable locating them without removing your eyes from the screen.

When you master new letters, your confidence and accuracy will increase, along with your speed. Just keep in mind that not every beginner achieves perfection right away. It often takes a handful of sessions to feel comfortable with touch typing. That’s because it is the typing technique, not accuracy or speed, that you must learn first, and this requires developing new muscle memory.

What are the home row keys?

What are the home row keys?

Touch typing is a crucial skill for students and working adults to master. It makes writing on a computer faster, helps improve spelling skills by bringing in muscle memory and reduces the distraction and inefficiency of hunting for one letter at a time. It also provides a direct route for the translation of ideas into written language, as thoughts flow freely through the fingertips and onto the screen.

But in order to find letters on the keyboard through touch alone, typists need to create a spatial map of the keyboard that their fingers can use to navigate accurately and without visual guidance. They also need a base position to start with and a resting place for their hands to come back to during pauses and breaks in typing.

The traditional resting place for the right and left hands is on the home row keys.

Touch typing benefits

Touch typing benefits

Touch typing can help you become a faster typist, improve your career prospects and pave the way for success in further education. But the benefits of touch typing extend beyond mastering the home keys and increasing your speed. When you learn to type with a multi-sensory and modular course, you strengthen reading and spelling skills at the same time as you gain confidence and motivation.

This is important for people who use the hunt and peck method, but it can also make a huge difference to children and adults who struggle with learning difficulties. That’s because typing without looking at the keyboard involves muscle memory in the process and eliminates the need to use a pen or pencil. It eases the strain of writing for individuals who struggle with handwriting difficulties, dyspraxia and/or visual impairments and provides the kind of phonics training dyslexic students most benefit from.

Moreover, it presents an opportunity for students to “overlearn” material and improve their skill through self-study, saving a child from being embarrassed in front of his or her peers.

Typing programs for schools

Typing programs for schools

Do you remember learning keyboarding at school? Depending on when and where you grew up, you may have studied touch typing as part of a computer science course. That’s because before personal computers became common, a school’s computer lab was just about the only place where students had the opportunity to learn and practice correct finger placement and typing without looking at the keyboard.

This is no longer the case as kids today are exposed to keyboards on a range of devices and from an early age. Yet despite their enhanced familiarity (and a massive increase in the amount of school work which must be completed electronically), not all of them can type.

Where to start when teaching kids to type

Teaching kids to type

Educational technology can help children strengthen literacy skills, deal more easily with the challenges of learning difficulties, and enhance their performance across the elementary and high school curriculum.

And while apps typically make headlines for their big-data algorithms and adaptive lesson plans, one of the best Ed Tech ideas for children may be a more back-to-basics approach. For example, programs that teach keyboarding skills. That's because in order to use a computer, play educational games, and even search the web, it helps to have learned touch typing.

Being able to type without looking at the keyboard means kids can focus on the task in front of them, instead of getting distracted hunting for letters.

Finger placement for typing

Finger placement for typing

If you are considering learning how to touch-type, then you’re probably aware there is a certain base position in which to rest your fingers so they can reach all of the keys on the keyboard. But becoming a pro at typing requires more than just knowing which finger sits on which key.

First you will need to learn how to reach the keys with the correct fingers and then you’ll have to practice, practice and practice some more. Typing quickly and accurately with correct finger placement involves building up some muscle memory in your hands, so they feel comfortable reaching for keys in sequence and the movements become automatic.

How long does it take to learn to  type

How long does it take to learn to touch type?

Have you ever met an individual who can type on a keyboard without looking down at his or her fingers?

Perhaps it is a fellow student participating in a group discussion and typing up notes at the same time, or a co-worker sending out emails as you dictate the text. It might even be a friend creating an electronic to-do list to keep your afternoon on track.

There is something impressive about the way touch-typing carries on at such a steady and even pace, allowing the typist to automatize their movements and focus on the words on the screen. It’s almost as though the keyboard becomes an extension of their fingers.