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At What Age Are Kids Developmentally Ready for Typing?

Up to a certain age, children’s brains are like sponges.

Studies show that children have a much easier time learning a second language if they start before their third birthday.

This early start will help them reach better levels of fluency and retention than if they start later in life.

Additionally, some studies even indicate that learning multiple languages at a young age can lead to cognitive benefits in critical thinking and creativity.

Like learning a second language, there can be serious benefits to introducing children to typing at a young age.

Is a child ever too young to take a stab at keyboarding?

At what age should you start to introduce typing to kids?

There isn’t a clear-cut answer for what the ideal grade is to begin keyboarding instruction.

Obviously, there is a big difference in the motor dexterity of a 1st grader versus a 5th grader, so our expectations of what each grade level can accomplish on a keyboard need to to be realistic.

Experts agree, though, that there’s no harm in starting students early on typing, even if it’s only for a small chunk of time per week.

Many teachers and parents have found that kindergarten is a great time to get kids familiar with typing.

Since students are learning to read and write letters, learning to type the same letters can be a great way to reinforce letter recognition.

In fact, there is some evidence from research that learning the same information through multiple means (reading, writing, typing) can benefit children in terms of cognitive development.

How to introduce young kids to typing?

So while there’s no right answer to when is the best time to introduce students to typing, there’s general agreement there’s no harm in starting early.

Introducing very young students to keyboarding will need to look different from teaching the skill to middle schoolers.

Young students don’t yet have full command of their motor skills, and some may have hands that are too small to feasibly rest their fingers on the home keys.

Thus, the goal here is to help familiarize young students with where keys are on a keyboard and how typing works, not to push touch typing at this age.

Once students reach second or third grade, then it makes sense to start them in on touch typing instruction.

Using a program such as Typing.com is a great way to help students learn the foundational skills of hand placement, posture, and letter sequence to help them avoid falling into the trap of hunt and peck typing.

An online typing platform is also ideal as it allows students to move at their own pace, monitor their progress, and practice typing in fun and engaging ways.

Recommended typing benchmarks for very young kids

If you decide to take the dive to teaching keyboarding with young kids, it’s essential to have reasonable expectations of what they should be able to accomplish.

Many schools and districts have developed benchmarks for what typing performance should look like at each grade level.

While these may vary slightly from school to school, the following are general grade level typing benchmarks for accuracy and WPM.

3rd grade: 85% – 100% accuracy, 15 WPM
4th grade: 90% – 100% accuracy, 20 WPM
5th grade: 90% – 100% accuracy, 25 WPM
6th grade: 90% – 100% accuracy, 30 WPM

These guidelines are a great place to start when it comes to setting goals and getting kids motivated to improve their typing.

So consider giving your students a leg up by introducing them to typing well before they reach middle school.

With a little practice, they’ll soak it right up!


7 thoughts on “At What Age Are Kids Developmentally Ready for Typing?

  1. We are a one to one school with k-12 having ipads without an external keyboard. How do you recommend teaching typing to those kids?

    1. We got keyboards for our 4th graders to use with their iPads, and it’s been very beneficial with regards to kids typing properly and faster.

      Consider getting a set to pull out as needed.

  2. I agree with them when they compared typing with learning a second languge, because I believe that the earlier you introduce something like typing, the better off the child is in life with a job that requires typing or just typing for fun.

    1. I respectfully disagree. Learning a second language when you already have the ability to speak is not the same as learning to touch type, which uses other motor skills.

  3. Hi –
    I taught touch-typing at the middle level for several years. And, based on my experiences, 6th grade is the best time to start. Below are some suggestions, etc. to make it work!
    *Focus first on lower case alpha keys and basic punctuation followed by learning the Shift key.
    *It takes students approximately 45 – 60 hours of dedicated instruction/practice time to master at their age level. Preferably every other day class time. This includes initial breaks every 12 – 15 minute.
    *Technique is critically – students must sit up straight and practice typing slowly with as little hesitation as possible. Some students may need to look down at times but consistency is important.
    *Practice only two new keys at a time blended with previously learned keys. Repetition and drill is essential. Do not move on until this is mastered. Mastery is determined by student self-assessment and teacher assessment. Note: Speed is not relevant but rather focus on technique and pacing without hesitation. An analogy would be liking walking at a nice consistent pace without stopping and going and/or running. Also, if students are struggling with staying in rhythm, have them move their head up and down as they strike each key.
    *I recommend avoiding programs with keyboarding games. Students tend to want to beat the scores leading to faster typing movements and loss of technique and control. Note: Just to clarify, some games are effective but as a rule, they are not necessary to learn. Kids are smart and do recognize that straightforward methods work best.
    *Let students work at there own pace using a program. One of my favorites is the old school program called Ainsworth. Note: There are many different strategies/ games, etc. you can apply after all alpha keys are learned.
    *Do not let students initially use their backspace. Mistakes are irrelevant during the learning process.
    *Assign homework calendar (3x’s – 4x’s per 7 day cycle for 15 minutes). Have parents initial in block each time student completes practice. Homework only is effective if students use the same techniques.
    *Most importantly is you must constantly wander the room while constantly assessing and assisting students.
    *During the learning process, make sure kids know this is not a competition between students.
    *Goal: For students to be able to type at least 30 words per minute with roughly 10% or less errors. I measure using Gross Speed. A good drill is in typing games. The same drills can be used over and over again to measure typing speed.
    *I am sure I forgot some things but trust me, this will work! It just requires complete focus, patience, time, and dedication by everyone. By the completition of the course, student wpm scores will range from 20’s – 70’s plus. Most will average 35 – 40 + plus wpm using the touch-typing method. 35 in my opinion is the point of no return. By 7-8 grade, several students will reach 60’s and 70’s with a few in the 80 – 100 + range. My average is 60+. And, yes you will have a percentage of students that fall on the low end or never reach their goal because they failed to put in the required effort. One final note: Once students demonstrate they have mastered the alpha keys and normal punctuation, focus on speed. Your students in the future will tell you this was one of the top three skills they ever learned throughout their K – 12 school years! Good Luck! Sorry for any grammatical mistakes!

    I hope this helps and e-mail with any questions!

  4. That question is like asking why don’t the majority of basketball players do well in the gymnastic competition, I mean, they do all learn to use the gymnasium.

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