Instruction and Practice:
Keyboarding is an integral part of computer use. From Kindergarten through Eighth Grade, keyboarding instruction is also an important part of the computer curriculum. The youngest children are introduced to the layout of the keyboard and are encouraged and challenged to use both hands on the respective left and right sides of the keyboard.
At the end of Second Grade, after working on key location activities, students take a keyboard test for which they fill in all of the alphabet keys as well as the Punctuation, Shift, Enter, Backspace, Tab, Caps Lock keys and the Space Bar. Second Graders will have begun working on proper Keyboarding Technique during Second Semester.
Formal touch-keyboarding instruction begins in Third Grade. Keyboarding practice and extension continues through Eighth Grade with more and more accountability for accuracy and speed. Third through eighth grade students are expected to meet the National Standards for Words Per Minute (wpm), which have been set at: Third Grade – 15 wpm, Fourth Grade – 20 wpm, Fifth Grade – 25 wpm, Sixth Grade – 30 wpm, Seventh Grade – 35 wpm and Eighth Grade – 40 wpm. The standards also include students being able to key the minimal words per minute with 0-1 error per minute of timing.
Students from grades three through five should practice keyboarding ten or more minutes at a time, at least three times per week over and above practice during computer class. Middle School computer students will practice every class period and should use proper technique when using keyboarding to complete assignments for their other classes. Practice may include Alphabet Drills, upper- and lower-case letters, spelling words or text from study or homework activities – anything that allows the student to work consistently for a minimum of ten minutes. Proper technique is absolutely necessary during all practice or assignments. Students may also use online keyboarding practice sites including Typing Club for grades 3-5 or Typing Web for middle school computer students. Computer students have their own accounts for both TC and TW.
Again any practice must include proper technique. The goal of instruction and practice is for students to be able to key with speed and accuracy with minimal glances at their hands and the keyboard. Below are some technique guidelines that parents may watch for as their students are practicing their keyboarding.
- Spine straight, lower back (hips) against back of chair, leaning slightly forward from the waist. (Backs should not be touching the chair unless they are seated in a keyboarding/office chair with a back support as pictured in the example to the left.)
- Keyboard placed at bottom edge of desk.
- Seated a comfortable distance from keyboard (a hand length is the suggested starting distance).
- Upper body centered in front of keyboard lined up with the “H” key.
- Feet flat on floor or foot rest, slightly apart for body balance. One foot may be positioned slightly ahead of the other. (For younger students, we use a bottom forward, chair back seating position for them to be able to place their feet on the floor without a foot rest.)
Correct Arm and Hand Position
- Arms relaxed; elbows naturally close to body.
- Forearms nearly parallel with slope of keyboard.
- Fingers curved, tips of fingers resting lightly on Home Row keys (asdf, jkl;)
- Hands close enough together to “lock” thumbs. Fingers upright, not leaning toward little fingers.
- Hands and wrists “quiet,” almost motionless.
- Wrists low, but palms of hands not resting on keyboard (space for ping pong ball below palms).
- Beginning and ending all keystrokes at home row position.
- Keying each key with the correct finger.
- Keying the space bar with the thumb.
- Shifting with the appropriate “pinky” finger.
- Using the “pinky” finger of the right hand for the Enter and Backspace keys.
- Keeping eyes on copy (text, screen, etc.) rather than the keyboard, once a key has been introduced.