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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

6 Must Know Keyboarding Exercises for Beginners

6 Must Know Keyboarding Exercises for Beginners

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Learning how to properly touch type is one of the most important skills that could be ever learnt. Here are the top 6 keyboarding exercises for beginners that can help point in the right direction. 

Before beginning practicing, students need to learn where to properly place their fingers. Show them a keyboard. On the F and J keys, they should see a small raised bump or tag. This is designed to teach them where to place your fingers. Left index finger should rest on the F key, and right index finger should rest on the J key. The rest of fingers will rest on the adjacent keys. On the left hand, middle finger will rest on the D, the ring finger on the S and the pinkie on the A. For the right hand, middle finger will sit on the K, ring finger on the L and pinkie on the ;. Both of thumbs should rest on the space bar. 

1. Left Hand Home Row (ASDF).

In the first keyboarding exercise for beginners they will need to practice is the home row keys that fall under left hand. Most of these exercises will consists of repetitions of letter combinations like as, ad, af, sd, and other similar 1-4 letter combinations. While these may seem repetitive, they are designed to create muscle memory in fingers. Repetition and muscle memory are the key to successful touch typing.

2. Right Hand Home Row (JKL;).

The next exercise they will need to do is to practice typing on the home row keys that fall under right hand. These exercise similar to those employed for the left hand home keys, and students will be subjected to constant repetitions of j,k,l. and ;. While these may not form coherent words, they will help to learn where to place fingers and how to use them to type properly.

3. Left Hand Top Row (QWERT).

This third set of typing exercises for beginners consists of learning how to add the top row keys that are serviced by the left hand to your repertoire. These 5 keys will help them to make simple words such as fat, sat, and rat. Each of these can be easily and quickly typed by the left hand alone.

4. Right Hand Top Row (YUIOP).

Similar to the third entry on this list, these exercises will teach kids to incorporate the top row keys on the right hand side of the keyboard. Again, these are designed to enhance muscle memory. Do you know what the longest word you can type using only the top row of the keyboard? Believe it or not, it's 'typewriter.'

5. Left Hand Bottom Row (ZXCVB).

These can be a little tricky which is why the bottom row is normally left for last, but they are none the less essential to proper touch typing techniques. Spend some extra time on these to make sure they're typing properly. While the Z may not be used as often in the English language as some of the other letters, it is still important and deserves to be typed properly. 

6. Right Hand Bottom Row (NM,./).

These keys are essential because they are technically your first punctuation keys, and it is vitally important to employ proper punctuation while typing. Again, since they are on the bottom row, these keys can be a little harder to reach, but that does not mean they should be neglected. 

Once they've completed these 6 exercises for newbies, students will have almost all of the basic skills that you need to touch type properly. Spend some time with a piece of paper or a dish towel covering hands so you are forced to learn the keyboard by memory rather than by sight. This will help to increase typing speed and accuracy as well as ensuring the development of proper muscle memory. 

Spending just a little time each day doing these keyboarding exercises for beginners (for example, at http://www.ratatype.com/ or http://www.typingweb.com/ ) can help to increase their typing speed and accuracy exponentially. Focus on using the proper typing techniques and in no time, they'll be typing as well and as quickly as the fastest typists, and have all the skills they need to succeed in school, in business, and beyond.


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Adam Fort's picture
Adam Fort
Touch typing enthusiast and educator

I usually have a big printed picture of keyboard and right and left hands. I put "hands" over keyboard picture and show proper finger position.

Than, we start typing rows of letters without looking on the keyboard. The letters and phrases become more complicated after some practice.

For accuracy, we practice to cover both hands by towels while typing.

More tips at http://www.ratatype.com/learn/

Kevin Jarrett's picture
Kevin Jarrett
K-4 Technology Facilitator from Northfield, New Jersey
Facilitator

What grade level, Adam?

Kevin Jarrett's picture
Kevin Jarrett
K-4 Technology Facilitator from Northfield, New Jersey
Facilitator

Perfect, same here. What speed and accuracy targets are appropriate for this age group?

Adam Fort's picture
Adam Fort
Touch typing enthusiast and educator

There was an error. I updated a link.

Tracie Banner's picture

I have found that the students are far more eager to learn keyboarding via the Internet rather than in a face-to-face setting. I require all of my 7th and 8th grade students to type at no less than 30 WPM by the end of the school year. For my students, who are below grade level, this is a challenging feat. I allow them to complete practice exercises online and then we do speed test together with the lights on and without the lights. They really freak out when I turn the lights out. All of a sudden, they can no longer type. I always tell them, "The keys haven't moved!"

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