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Keyboarding Programs Compiled by Deanna Iris Sava, MS, OTR/L This information was compiled from occupational therapy listservs, and is based on therapists' experience in using these programs with students. Thanks to all the therapists who contributed information. All the Right Type Kids DON'T like this program. Diana King Method Have no information about this program. Herzog Keyboarding System ( This is a book, not a software program. It uses a kinesthetic approach. This is geared to all ages, but I see its greatest use with younger children. The program teaches keyboarding using the A-Z sequence rather than teaching the "home row." The theory is that this is a sequence which children are already familiar with. I have modified the program for some children by adding more repetitions of the drills. What I don't like about the program is the "limited enticement" in this world of technology and visual entertainment! Jump Start Typing For 5th and 6th graders. Very busy. The girls like it much more than the boys do. Most of my kids got so carried away with the games that they used two finger hunt and peck, so it wasn't terribly successful. A few who were cognitively delayed got very frustrated. I have on fourth grader who is doing great with it. On the Mac, it sometimes crashed. It does have varied tasks/games and adjusts to the student's level. It also generates printable report cards. Keyboarding by Ability Teaches the keyboard based on the amount of finger isolation and/or use the student has. KidKeys From Davidson. Intro keyboard program for 4-8 year olds. Only on diskette format that you can only get on a teacher's pack (site license) for about $250. It is success-oriented and attention getting, so I keep plugging away with it. Aside from the difficulty in obtaining it, it is an old program, does not keep track of how a student has done, does not modify itself based on performance, and you have to run it in DOS. Kid's Typing CD Kid's Typing by Bright Star Technology, Inc. It can be purchased through Mac Station Technologies Corp. in Canada ( This is software which is really fun for the child. Its star is a "Casper" like ghost, who encourages the kids to type. It moves back and forth from drills while he verbally/visually encourages the student to enter various rooms, where the child is able to manipulate the environment by typing faster (for example, a mother is mixing something in the blender in the kitchen, and the faster the child types, the faster the blender spins

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Kid's Typing CD (cont'd.) until the food flies all over the place). You can also go to another screen which will gives the WPM and other data. You can print out award certificates with the data. Kids love this program and have a lot of fun with it. Total cost was around $20.00 in Canadian money (under $6 U.S.). KP Typing Tutor Here is a link for a free download of a great typing program:,fid,7931,00.asp It has a typing course, sentence drills, free drills, and paragraph drills. It also includes a game (that you can set at different levels) that's great for visual scanning and typing practice. Mario Teachs Typing Very boring; very, very busy. Not my favorite. Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing Some therapists use this, but it isn't a favorite. They prefer programs such as Type to Learn. Nimble Fingers (Word Wacker) This is a great program. You can download a trial version for free ( or purchase the full version from their website. On Screen By R.J. Cooper and Assoc. Has word prediction program. Intellikeys can be used, or an augmentative keyboard device if you have Boardmaker. Paint, Write and Play By the Learning Co. For preschool through 1st grade, or self-contained classes. It works well with autistic and mentally impaired kids because it is very visually oriented. It gives them half a page for drawing and then a story. When they attempt to write, they are given all the letters of the alphabet at the bottom of the screen and can click on a letter. When they click on a letter, it brings up word choices for them with pictured icons. When they click on the A for Airplane, and the picture is there, both the word and the picture are included in their story. If you click on the megaphone icon, the software "reads" auditorily what they have typed. All this for $19.95! That is what I use for lower level kids.

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Paws I like it because it seems to hold the attention of almost all age level kids, even though the arcade games are really dorky for older kids. Read, Write and Type By The Learning Company. It uses speech output. Read, Write, and Type takes a phonetic approach to the letters of the alphabet and teaches the phonemes as well as the letters. It has a villain that the typist must help overcome. He keeps stealing letters and one must type them to get them back. It teaches correct hand placement as well as any computer program can. Unfortunately, there is no replacement for a 'coach' that catches the mistakes and 'cheats' as they happen. One therapist didn't like this program at all, and another therapist liked it better than Write Out Loud. Roller Typing This is a great program and my middle school kids really like it. It is a guy or girl rollerblading as you type. It has a record keeping section. It also has a model of both hands with the finger needed for typing turning blue as a visual cue. It's available through, but Discovery Toys offers it for the best price (about $20). Rhythmic Typing ( OR [email protected]/). Requires a lot of RAM. Slam Dunk Typing From Scholastic. Good for younger children. A favorite with the boys. They love the basketball theme. Requires a lot of visual tracking. Timon and Pumbaa Typing Adventures or Disney's Adventures in Typing with Timon and Pumbaa The therapists use this program (which has the characters from Lion King) absolutely love it! They generally use it for students in grades 2-6, but have used it with a 1st grade student. It's helpful for early stages of learning finger placement, letters, and short words. The initial game that goes along with the lessons is like Whack a Mole where a bug pops out of a hole with a letter on his back, the student types the letter, and Pumbaa uses a pea shooter to knock him down. The next level of games is also pretty good, using some fairly common words, but then the higher level games involve capitalized words like states and countries as well as characters from Disney movies, which got a little frustrating for most of my younger students...too tough. One student used the program with a one-handed typing program quite successfully. I had It can be ordered from (they didn't have a price listed when I went to the site). I had problems finding it at stores like T J Maxx, Ross, Office Depot, or Staples. It can definitely

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be ordered through Disney Interactive at 800-900-9234 or online at at this link for $9.99 ­ item #27937: &Searchstr=Adventures+in+Typing&Go.x=10&Go.y=13 (or go to , then click on Store link, and do a search for Adventures in Typing). Some of the online educational software companies carry it, but it ran for $15 or $20 (I found it by typing in the name of the program). Type for Fun By Sunburst. To improve speed and accuracy for grades 3-adult. Type to Learn (TTL) By Sunburst (1-888-321-7511 or Set up for regular QWERTY keyboard. For 2nd-5th graders. It is FABULOUS!!! I like it much better than any of the others (I've tried Mavis Beacon, Mario Teaches Typing, Paws, and Communikeys) for elementary and middle school students (LD and even some lower level kids who are in 3rd-6th grade). It teaches home row placement, is visually oriented and has great up beat music. It is visually stimulating, but not over stimulating. It's got a space theme and gives "game breaks" during the lesson to break it up a bit. The kids enjoy typing to earn stars or make it around the solar system. The games also incorporate scanning and reaction time. It allows you to set parameters such as wpm goal, automatic review of keys after __ errors, how often you want game breaks to be offered, % accuracy desired, etc. You can set the speed goal as low as you want so the child won't become frustrated. It is an excellent motivator, amazingly keeping students' eyes focused on the monitor with nice graphics of realistic hands and keyboard, visual prompts as needed. Another advantage is its functionality that reinforces reading skills and puts learned letters into words, phrases, then sentences as soon as they are mastered. It has approximately 25 lessons (the first 16 cover the alphabet and common punctuation, so most of my students earn the privilege to complete assignments using a keyboard upon completion of lesson 16 with 90% accuracy and at least 10 wpm). The company allows school systems to buy the home version ($20-$30) which can keep progress records (that can be printed and sent home) for 5 students. Since they do not offer a system packets, each school must have their own site license, lab pack, or individual home versions for each classroom where needed. Type to Learn, Jr. By Sunburst. This is similar to Type to Learn, but is for preschool-2nd, and low-level kids. It has more age-appropriate graphics. It doesn't teach finger placement but stresses using both hands on the correct sides of the keyboard. The keyboard is divided into right and left sides ­ one side has red letters and the other purple letters.

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Typing Instructor The kids love this one. I'm using it with upper elementary, Jr. and Sr. high school students. It has lessons as well as a variety of games. The games are really unique, such as a mountain climbing game -- the mountain climber climbs as the student types the letters. Anyway, there are lots of neat games that are great for lessons and improving speed. It gives wpm and accuracy on lessons and games. Typing Instructor Deluxe This program is available from for $29.99. One of the things I really like about it is that it gives you progress reports in chart of graph form. It tells you the accuracy of each lesson and/or test, the average wpm, and peak wpm. Following is part of's description of the program: the program automatically suggests the right lessons and tests for your skill level. Easy-to-follow, next-step recommendations and proven teaching methods, such as double key stroking, help you master a few keys at a time. Or, build your own custom typing plan to focus on specific areas you'd like to improve. Along the way, you'll get constant feedback on your progress, with accuracy and words-per-minute scores after every lesson and test. Improve your speed and accuracy with seven action-packed games. For beginning to advanced typists, kids to adults, you'll sharpen your keyboard and 10-key skills with amazing graphics and exciting challenges. Ultra Keys By Bytes of Learning. Kind of boring but good for the middle and high school levels. I like that they have "tests" at the end of the lesson that let you see what you need to work on (wrong keys, missing keys, etc.) and provide % accuracy/wpm. They have an updated version now, but the students I work with find it frustrating and boring. Their website address is: Wild West Typing Arcade Kids like it. What I like about this program is that you don't have to have a certain wpm to go to the next lessons like some of the other programs such as Mario, Timon and Pumbaa Typing Adventures, etc. Many kids couldn't get past the first lesson on those programs, so at least on this one we can work on more than "home row." It has various levels so that younger as well as older kids can use it. It's available through Plasma Devices, Inc. ( Websites Website with Transcript of Keyboarding and LD-related Issues

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If you have access to the web, here is a great site for teaching typing and writing. The games go from preschool to grade 6 or you can buy programs from this site, too:,36"> This site rates typing programs for different age groups: This site sells a keyboard called Little Fingers for smaller hands:

ONE-HANDED PROGRAMS Bob Harrell's Home Page Free typing tutor program ( DVORAK Layout I am now recommending the one-handed DVORAK layout for my students. This layout is available as an optional keyboard layout on the control panel of Windows 95 and later versions, as well as newer Mac operating systems. The advantage of this layout is that the reach is greatly reduced as the keys are clustered in the middle of the keyboard, i.e., number keys become letter keys. It is also based on frequency of use. Simply relabel the keys with commercially available keyboard letter stickers or make some. This layout is also an option on the Alphasmart word processors. The nice thing about using the Alphasmart is that the keys can be popped off and repositioned. My students use the Alphasmart as a standalone word processor as well as a DVORAK keyboard for their desktop computers - very versatile. 5 Finger Typing Available through Mayer-Johnson ( For MAC and PC. Can use with regular keyboard, for right and left-handers. Not an exciting program. Key Time A typing tutor program for the DVORAK one-handed layout. It uses the alphabet, not the home keys. Contact them at [email protected] or (206) 522-8973. It costs $49.95. Be sure to specify which version you require (MAC or Windows). Maltron Keyboard I just received on loan from the state lending AT library, a one-handed keyboard called the Maltron. This keyboard comes in a left- or right-handed version and is designed to be ergonomically functional with all most commonly used keys in a 'bowl-shaped' layout on one

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side of the keyboard. An interesting comment I read in the Maltron manual was talking about learning the new way to type. It stated that when a person learns the standard 2-handed program, both sides of the body and brain must work together to coordinate the typing process. Using the one handed keyboard, not only involves only the one side of the body, but one side of the brain and this then helps to learn a new typing program much easier. The home row is different on the Malton, using different letters, but this device does come with typing exercises to learn and familiarize the person with the position of the keys and the feel of moving from one key to the next. This appears (to me) to be even more functional/feasible than the Alphasmart set up for one-handed typing. One-Handed Typing Check out their website at: Touch Type for One Hand and Half-Qwerty Both available from Matias Corp., Canada ( or call 800663-4263.


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