Learning to Type: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Suzanne Rose

Suzanne has taught all levels PK-graduate school and has a PhD in Instructional Systems Design. She currently teachers literacy courses to preservice and inservice teachers.

When you use a laptop or other keyboard, do you use just one or two fingers to find the letters you need? Would you like to learn how to type faster? This lesson will show you how you can use all your fingers when you type!

Type Like a Pro!

You can learn to type faster if you learn to type correctly. Many people use one finger to find the keys they need to press, but this takes a long time. Typing this way is called 'hunt and peck' typing because your finger looks like a chicken hunting for food--it finds a piece of food, pecks at it, then wanders around looking for the next piece. To type quickly, learn to use all your fingers when you type.

The Keyboard and Your Fingers

Almost all keyboards have the letters and symbols in the same places. Why aren't the letters in alphabetical order? To answer this question, let's look at the invention of the QWERTY keyboard.

QWERTY

Before computers, we used typewriters. The first typewriters were used in the U.S. almost 150 years ago! Some people still use typewriters, but they're becoming rare.

Typewriter
type

At first, the letters were in alphabetical order, but people found this layout limited how fast they could type. So, inventors thought about which letters were used most often and in what order. About ten years later, the QWERTY keyboard was developed and has been used ever since.

If you look at a keyboard, you'll see that the first six keys on the top left row of letters are in this order: Q W E R T Y. That's where the name comes from.

Where Do Your Fingers Go?

To learn to type without looking at the keys, you need to learn where to put your fingers. First, find the home row of keys, which are the keys you rest your fingers on when you're not using them. Put the index finger of your left hand on the letter F on the keyboard. Put the index finger of your right hand on the letter J. Many keyboards have a bump or a ridge on those two keys to help you find them quickly without looking!

Note the ridge on the letter F.
closeup

Once your index fingers are in place, put the rest of your fingers on the keys in that same row. The fingers of your left hand will be on the A, S, D and F keys, and the fingers on your right hand will be on the J, K, L, and ; keys. This is the home row of the QWERTY keyboard.

In the colored QWERTY keyboard image, the home row letters are circled. So what do you do with your thumbs? They will be used to press the space bar, which is the longest key in the bottom row. It is used to put a space between words. You can use either your right or left thumb to hit the space bar.

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