Typing for kids doesn’t always come easy, but it can be one of the best ways for struggling writers to improve their skills. Teaching keyboard skills to kids using fun typing apps & games helps, and we’ve already laid out some typing tips for parents. Below, you’ll find even more strategies for motivating your reluctant writer to become a master typist, with methods for rewarding and reinforcing sustained practice and some fun typing activities to help kids keep their keyboard skills sharp.
1). Make it Fun. Find a fun and engaging typing program that involves a combination of skill development and game play. We highly recommend Typing Instructor for Kids Platinum.
2.) Start Simple. Initially, do not use any rewards if the program or game you are using appears to be engaging enough to get your child to remain motivated. You may need rewards later, however, when the amount of practice needed to gain mastery in the skill grows.
3. Introduce Rewards. Once you begin to use them, rewards should be both immediate and long-term. Immediate rewards might include being able to play a fun video game after practicing each day (we suggest 20-30 minutes of practice, 4 days per week) or having some type of snack or a special privilege that day. Long-term rewards (larger in nature such as a sleepover, a pizza party, a small cash reward, or renting a video game) should be done on a weekly basis. These rewards are for certifiable improvement such as going from 12 WPM to 16 WPM. If your child is trying hard and only making small improvements, you may want to make the expectations for improvement smaller. We suggest that initially you look for 20% improvement from the first 3 weeks and then 10% improvement after that.
4.) Set Fair Goals. Make the goals realistic. A younger child’s basic goal after 4-6 weeks of training might be 20-30 words per minute, for upper elementary school children students, 25-35 words per minute, for middle school children, 30-40 words per minute and 35-50 words per minute for high school students.
5.) Increase Rewards. Make the rewards larger as your child works towards harder and harder tasks. For example, if you can get your child to be able to routinely type at 40-50 words per minute, written assignments will become much easier to complete. Providing a substantial reward such as a new cell phone or a gift certificate will be well worth it for their future success.
6.) Play Online. Choose online games to practice typing skills that are fun, as a tool that is used on alternating days or at least a few times per week. Options include TypeRacer and Sense-Lang’s Ballon Game. Changing the practice routine has been demonstrated to sustain interest and boost improvement.
7.) Continue Summer Learning. A good time to develop typing skills is during the summer. During the summer, your child should have adequate time to practice at least 4 days per week, for 20-30 minutes a day. You can provide a reward for additional practice.
8.) Include the Family. Turn typing into a family competition. Get siblings to compete, if possible. Even though you want to set up a competition, it is important that you find ways to reward each of them for their efforts and to provide rewards for whomever makes the most improvement each week. Make sure that the reward is something that is shared, but that the winner gets to choose it. For example, it could be choosing a restaurant to go out for dinner, buying or renting a video game that they will share, or a special trip such as going to a movie, museum, ballgame, or an amusement park.
9.) Teach Tap-Typing. Once your child has mastered typing on a computer keyboard, it will be a good idea to introduce typing on an iPad, tablet device, or smart phone. Having both skills could be very useful, and we highly recommend the app TapTyping as a great place to start.
10.) Put Skills to Work. Hire your kids to do some typing for you. Dictate a an email to a relative, and have your child transcribe it, or have your child type up an introduction to a video that you want to send to family members. If your going on vacation, consider making a family blog and having everyone contribute. Even something as simple as typing up a grocery list can help.
11.) Make it Real. Encourage real-world typing activities. For example, if one of your child’s rewards is something you purchased for online, give the assignment of writing a review of the product and submitting it online. Have your child read examples of product reviews on a site like Amazon.com to get a sense of how to do it.
12.) Peak an Interest. Practice typing and writing skills about something that is of interest to your child. One simple strategy is to have your child post some comments on a blog or website that covers an topic of interest. Kids who like video games might want to share their ideas at a site like IGN, those who are interested in politics might want to post a comment on Huffington Post, and those who would like to review movies could post a review at Rotten Tomatoes.