Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Thrill of Learning to Type

My son’s latest passion is learning how to type. Last week, as a reward for getting 100 points at school, my wife gave him a computer game that teaches kids how to type. Since then, that has been his activity of choice whenever he has free time.

When Kai was younger, all he wanted to do at times was to write letters. He would go through reams of paper, often getting very artistic with drawing letters in various forms. He was so obsessed with it, that we sometimes had to restrict or even totally stop him from doing this as it seemed to hinder him from social interactions.

So, it is no surprise that he would like this Disney computer game that involves using letters.

The program teaches kids proper hand positioning and finger usage. It starts with the easiest letters to type, f and j. Kai was fascinated as he typed fff, followed by jjj, then various combinations of the two. Before long, d and k were added.

At the end of each lesson, there is a test. With his love of numbers, seeing the score of his number of words per minute and percentage for accuracy added more excitement. 91%! All right!

When Kai passed the level one test and made it to level two, he was motivated to get to level three. He really got excited when a vowel, the letter a, was among the next set of letters he learned. That meant he could type real words. Along with the letter a were the s, l, and ; keys. I never before saw a six year old so happy to learn about semicolons.

He couldn’t wait to finish level two so that he could find out what the next letters were. It took him another day, but when he made it to level three, he was happy to learn they were g and h. Level four was even more thrilling, as that brought two more vowels, e and i.

As he has progressed, the program is getting a bit harder now so he’s not going to advance as quickly as before. But, he already knows that level five will bring the SHIFT key so he can’t wait to get there. After all, that will mean he can type upper case letters. For a kid who loves letters like he does, that is nirvana.

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