When to start typing

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A recent article at missoulian.com discusses at what age should schools start teaching typing. Some schools wait until as late as 5th or 6th grade to teach typing, while other schools start at grade 2.

“The quandary is: Are we creating a world of hunt-and-peck keyboard users by waiting too long to give formal typing instruction? Or might keyboarding lessons sacrifice time on spelling and sentence structure to teach something better learned in later years? “

The problem with this statement is you can teach keyboarding without sacrificing time on spelling and sentence structure. Why not make the spelling lesson to type the words three times instead of write them three times. Or do the common DOL (Daily Oral Language) on the computer rather than on paper. Computers are the tool that replaces the pencil and paper, not something that you have to do.

I’ve struggled with this at my last two schools. At my last school we started teaching typing in second grade with a hunt and peck method and moving to home row and ‘true typing’ in 4th grade. At my current school, students start typing in 1st grade using the hunt and peck method and ‘true typing’ in 3rd grade. All

I know is by 5th grade most of our students are typing in the 20-30 words per minute range and some as high as 50 wpm with 80% accuracy.

The thing that I ponder is; should we really be teaching our students how to type? I look at the Kindergarteners I have and think by the time they’re ready to type, keyboards could be obsolete. With the huge strides that are being made in speech to type software and voice recognition software, I can see the end of the keyboard is not to far off.

I started blogging in 2005 and found it such a powerful way to reflect and share my thinking about technology, this generation, and how we prepare students for their future not our past.


  1. Until now I’ve always given touch typing lessons to 9-12 year old kids.
    But I notice that kids are starting to type younger and younger. So I’m
    now considering to start teaching touch typing at a younger age.

    Do you use a special program or do you have any tips for me?
    Any adjustments I should make?

    • Jeff Utecht Reply

      I no longer work in the elementary so not sure what programs are out there today. Would be a good tweet out if you are twitter. Ask others what programs they use with little ones these days.

  2. Touch Typing will still be required for programmers/ developers and non-conventional tasks and it is very hard to be replaced by voice command.

  3. Its free and has pretty good lessons. We use this with our 2nd-5th graders. The kids are super excited about learning and we purchased keyboard covers as well that we use at times to test their true ability.

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