Typing & Keyboarding Classes

Parent Q&A

  • I am looking for a typing teacher for a 6th grader for the Summer.  Lafayette, Moraga or Orinda areas would be ideal however open.  We have tried several typing programs however we need someone who deals with and understands dyslexia.  We are looking for someone who can work with our 6th grader several mornings a week.

    I don't have a tutor for you, but just want to pass on two things in case you (or somebody else reading this) didn't know about them.  First, although we didn't end up sending our dyslexic child there, the Center for Accessible Technology in Berkeley has keyboarding classes aimed specifically at kids (http://www.cforat.org/services/keyboarding_classes).   That's farther than you might want to travel, although it is right next to the Ashby BART station, if that makes a difference.  It's possible they might know about some tutors for you.   

    The other thing is that we tried several computer typing programs at home, but they all had too many fast-moving words zipping across the screen for my dyslexic child.  Finally we found something that worked called the Herzog keyboarding program.  It's not actually a computer program -- it's paper-based, which had its own challenges, but eventually we figured out a way to set things up that worked, and my child learned how to type. You may have already tried this one, and/or your child may need the structure provided by a tutor (which my child definitely needed in several other areas), in which case of course disregard this!  

    I'll second Center for Accessible Technology. As far as I know, they're the only ones  in the East Bay who offer keyboarding classes. They're a nonprofit  that focus on technology access for people with disabilities and many of the kids in the classes have dyslexia, or ADD. My daughter took the class a couple years ago as a rising 5th grader and she is a pretty proficient typist. 

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Keyboarding Class for middle school student

Nov 2012

There is nothing recent in the files on keyboarding classes for students in middle school. Typing software hasn't been a great solution for my child. I'm looking for a class where he can learn ''touch typing'' in Berkeley. Thank you. knowing how to type is important

My kids took the keyboarding class at the Center for Accessible Technology in Berkeley. They both took it in the summer. I'm not sure if they offer it during the school year, but they might be able to refer you to a class if you can't wait until summer. Typing's crucial!

The Center for Accessible Technology offers keyboarding classes for children with disabilities (including learning disabilities). The classes are for students grades 4 - 12. Classes include 8 one-hour sessions at a total cost of $300. Classes will run from January 28th through February 12, 2013 from 4:30 - 5:30. You may call 510 841-3224 or visit our website (www.cforat.org) to get more information and download a registration form. Click on the link for ''Direct Service'' and then go to the page for ''Keyboarding.'' sm

2007 - 2009 Recommendations

Typing lessons for a second grader

February 2007

My son's second grader teacher has recommended that he starts typing lessons, since it is evident that writing won't be his forte. I have been told that it is too early for this, but she insists that now is the time. Any recommendations for a typing tutor with experience with young kids? Thanks!

We bought my daughter a Spongebob typing program for our computer. She begged us for it (she was just about to enter 1st grade at the time and is in 2nd grade now. It has been fantastic. Her typing skills are pretty amazing for her age, and she has blast playing with it. My son has used it on occasion (he is 11) and he likes it too. Might be cheaper and more fun than a tutor. Plus, you can set the schedule, so it'll fit into your day better.

Local summer keyboarding classes for 6th grader

January 2007

I want my son, currently in 6th grade, to take a keyboarding class next summer. You know, like those typing classes some of us remember from way back when, where we learned to type without looking, using all 10 fingers, had timed practice, and tried to use erasable paper? Ok, I'm pretty old. Can anyone recommend a teacher/place, and give me some information. thanks. Peg

DVC has a summer program called College For Kids for grades 4-8 and they used to have keyboarding classes at both Pleasant Hill and San Ramon campuses--not sure about now. hunt and peck :)

Try the Center for Accessible Technology at 2547 8th Street in Berkeley: http://www.cforat.org/children/keyboarding.html My 14 year old son and 12 year old daughter both attended the program after school last spring. Both continue to use the skills they learned there; I often waited in an adjacent area, and know first hand that the instructor and 2-3 additional volunteers provided a very warm, supportive and engaging atmosphere. webmom

The Center for Accessible Technology is a great place to learn keyboarding. See http://www.cforat.org/.. Letitia

2004 - 2006 Recommendations

Good, Free Touch Typing Software

August 2006

Anyone know of an effective touch typing (but I guess it's now called ''keyboarding'') program that can be downloaded off the Internet? My daughter's good with computers, but still hunts and pecks her way through the alphabet.

Many people like the 'Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing' program, available to check out for free from your local libraries Nicole R.

I learned to type using an old classic (low priced?) software that was really fun & super easy, by Mavis Beacon. Sorry, don't know of the free downloads though. tomberkeley

Keyboarding software for preteen

Nov 2005

Now that my daughter has started middle school, she wants to type her homeowork and assignments more often, but has never really learned to type. Before she gets too attached to the hunt-and-peck method (she keeps getting better/faster!), I'd like her to learn the ten-finger way. Any recommendations for good learn-to-type software that would be appropriate for an 11 year old? Thanks. D.

Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing Someone recomended it to me and I loved it- they have personalized drills and games as well so it doesnt get too boring. 10-20 min. a day, and she'll be typing well in a a couple weeks. Lisa

Seeking tutor to help son with keyboarding

April 2005

I am seeking a tutor to help my son with handwriting and/or keyboarding. Poor fine motor skills and difficulty writing are neg. impacting my middle schoolers academic performance. The Boy's Mom

You might try the Center for Accessible Technology. They don't have tutoring, but offer some summer classes in both keyboarding and computer literacy. The computer literacy class is designed for students that struggle with writing due to learning disabilities. For information, check the website www.cforat.org/children/keyboarding.html , email ddew AT cforat.org or call Diane at 510-841-3224. Diane

Learn-to-type program for teen?

March 2005

Does anyone know of a good learn-to-type program suitable for a teenage boy? I've asked his English and computer teachers with no success. My daughter learned with Mavis Beacon (and motivational practice IM-ing), which was pretty dull but did the trick. Is there anything else out there? I'd like to get my son practicing the ''right'' way before he gets too set in his hunt-and-peck method, and he has a lower tolerance for boredom than my daughter did. Ellen

I can't recommend a computer program per se -- so far as I've seen Mavis B is about as good as you get. But there are alternatives (to quote the venerable Obi-Wan Kenobi.) Both of our boys had great success learning to type in short-term classes offered by the Center for Accessible Technology in West Berkeley during the summer. But sign up now because space is limited.

The classes are very useful even if your kid has already picked up some of the rudiments of the QWERTY keyboard. I can't explain their teaching system (the ''Herzog method'') other than to say that it is multisensory and that it works well. (Far less drudgery, and more effective, than learning on a manual typewriter in summer school, as I did in the 60's.)

Although their primary focus is on helping kids with learning and other disabilities to acquire these skills, the classes are open to all (or were a few years ago, anyway.) Here's the link to their website's keyboarding page: http://www.cforat.org/children/keyboarding.html CAT is reasonably priced (to suit all parts of the commnity.) Both of our kids picked up what they needed in something between two weeks and a month one summer, and have been keyboard monsters ever since.

A final note: It's remarkable to see what participation in various kinds of online fora (e.g., on computer games like World of Warcraft, etc. etc.) will do both for typing speed and, surprisingly enough, for composition and grammar, especially if the kid wants to use good grammar and write well. Interest is all, I guess. Go figure! Tim

Keyboarding classes for my 7th grader

July 2004

I'm looking for keyboarding classes for my 7th grader. He's practiced some using Mavis Beacon but isn't getting far. Does anyone know where such classes are offered in the Berkeley area? Daniele

In response to the parent looking for keyboarding/typing classes, I can tell you about the keyboarding classes we offer at the Center for Accessbible Technology in Berkeley. Classes are for students entering 4th-12th grade. They are particularly great for students with various learning disabilities, but are open to all students. Most of the summer classes are filled; there may be one or two openings in the August class. If you are interested, contact Diane at ddew AT cforat.org or 510-841- 3224. Even if the August class doesn't fit your schedule, I can put you on the mailing list for the fall class. Diane

2003 & Earlier

Software to teach typing/keyboarding to 11-y-o

Nov 2003

Can anyone recommend software that teaches typing/keyboarding, appropriate for an 11-year-old? I would appreciate any suggestions you can provide. Greg

Based on responses to a similar posting here not long ago, I got ''Typing Instructor Deluxe''. I have to admit that while I think it is very good, well designed, with a variety of fun games, my 10-year-old just isn't interested in doing it. I think if your son is actually interested in learning to type, this will be a good way to make it fun. But it may not be inherently fun enough to get him interested if he doesn't already want to learn. (Does that make sense?) R.K.

I learned how to type by using the Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing software program. I think it's fantastic! It's easy and fun to use. It shows you how and where to place your fingers as you type and it has fun, interactive games. As you progress, the program informs you of your typing speed and is able to sense which keystrokes are giving you trouble. I highly recommend this program. Tami

Read, Write & Type was super for my daughter. May be a bit young for 11 but probably not offensively so. norm

Type to Learn. I use it in my elementary school and it is also used in middle school. Easy and fun, with games and charts to track progress. Kids as young as 7 have enjoyed it, and my learning disabled students are able at access it successfully as well. I've seen it for sale at CompUSA, or probably online from Sunburst. teacher

If he/she already knows the basics here is a typing game (for pc only): http://games.yahoo.com/games/downloads/tps.html

If the link doesn't work go here and click on Typer Shark: http://games.yahoo.com/

The school where I teach uses Type to Learn. It looks great. I asked our technology teacher about it and she said a bunch of computer stuff I didn't understand, but I did gather that it has only got a few flaws in it, and those aren't until the very upper levels. When watching my students work on it I can see that they are doing typing drills as part of different lessons, they then take a test to see how well they mastered the skill. After the 5th (?) level they are given the option of game breaks that are basically games that involve typing. The kids really love it... in fact last week for technology class they requested to work on typing instead of doing web searches. I also know that several other teachers have purchased the program for thier kids to use at home since they liked what they saw too. a teacher & mom ------------------------------------ I purchased the ''Slam Dunk'' typing program from amazon,,, http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00002S9XF/qid%3D1071167027/sr%3D11-1/ref%3Dsr%5F11%5F1/102-1022314-8532162

It is a great program, my son (thirteen) plays it like a game. Instead of the boring typing we suffered through (jjj,fff, etc) you do similar exercises while passing the basketball between players. Other set ups play a game and you type letters to pass and shoot. It is very clever and he liked it so much he played it in his spare time like a ''game.'' His typing is much improved! and the game is only around five bucks to boot!

Before each lesson it gives very clear instructions and shows you the key patterns - which fingers to use for which keys on the screen. I think kids from 6 on up would be able to use this program. slam dunk works!

June 2003

My son will be entering fifth grad in the fall. During school open-house, I noticed that most of the fifth-grade work was typed (word-processed), but the school does not actually teach the kids keyboarding. I guess they just hunt-and-peck a lot, and/or rely on their parents to type stuff up for them. I believe that if typed assignments are required, the kids should have at least some idea of how to do it correctly/quickly/efficiently (not to mention ergonomically, which is probably too much to ask). I am looking for feedback from anyone who has used any of the available keyboarding teaching programs (software or available via internet), especially for kids, and most especially for 9-year-old boys. He is pretty comfortable at the computer- (games, mouse-use, brief hunt-and-peck typing), but not really the ''studious'' type (are any of them at this age?), so he probably won't do it unless it's FUN. At the same time, I want something that will adjust to his individual performance, report accuracy and speed, and ideally, can keep track of more than one ''student''. Thanks! RK

We use Typing Instuctor from Individual Software in the computer lab at Kensington School starting in third grade. It's got a travel theme and kids get stamps on a passport as they complete lessons. It's also got games interspersed with the lessons - doesn't take long for them to realize that paying attention to the lessons makes the games easier to win. The kids love it, many even choose to practice typing when they have free time, and it seems to work. You can get more information here: http://www.individualsoftware.com/new/consumer/details/tx8_details.htm Cathy

Summer keyboarding class for a 14 year old

June 2003

Does anyone know of a keyboarding class held over the summer in the East Bay, appropriate for a 14 year old with pretty minimal typing skills? I'm hoping to be able to have her type her own reports next year, instead of me! Thanks! Shelley

I personally have no information about keyboarding classes, just wanted to offer a possible alternative. I taught myself how to type from a book when I was about 16; my son taught himself how to type from an online program when he was about 14. It's very easy to do if you're motivated, since the exercises are purely memorization and repetition.

I work at the Center for Accessible Technology in West Berkeley. We offer Keyboarding classes to young people entering 4th-12th grade. We have classes during the summer and several times during the school year. Although our classes are perfect for students with learning disabilities or other disabilities, we also welcome students without disabilities.

The classes scheduled for this summer are already full. HOWEVER -- we keep a mailing list of people interested in future classes, and will send out flyers when we schedule another class.

This summer, we are developing a special keyboarding class just for teens. Each student will have the opportunity to borrow a digital camera to document their life, then write about it and post it on a website. This new class will probably be offered again in the fall.

You can get more information about our keyboarding programs at www.cforat.org/children/keyboarding.html. If you'd like to be added to the mailing list, email Diane at ddew AT cforat.org, or call 510-841-3224 Diane

I have used the program ''Type to Learn'' with great success with learning disabled students in grades 3 through 5. It is self-paced and fun, with game breaks that also build skills. My own kids used it in middle school and I confess they type better than I do.

up to four fingers now

Keyboarding class for 13-year-old

June 2002

Does anyone have a recommendation for either a keyboarding class for a 13-year-old or a software self-teach program (other than Mavis Beacon which is a bit juvenile for my daughter) that they have had success with? Thank you! Shelley

My workplace, the Center for Accessible Technology in Berkeley, offers a keyboarding class for students entering 4th-12 grades. It is for students with OR without disabilities (learning or physical disabilities). We use the Herzog method of teaching, which is based on the alphabet rather than the home row. The emphasis is on proper positioning (whole body and hands), and learning the keyboard, NOT on speed. The teacher makes it fun and can tailor it to the individual students. Class size is limited to 10 students, and there is an additional adult helper to give individual attention. There are openings in the August 5-22 class - it is 3 days/week (Monday, Tuesday ) 3:30-4:20, and the cost is $150. Call 510-841-3224 for more information. Diane

Typing class for 13-year-old

April 2000


Does anyone know of a keyboarding or typing class this summer that would be appropriate for a 13-year-old? Or do you know of software that works. My daughter has tried Mavis, but it seems to go from easy to hard without the intermediate steps.

Both of my children (8 and 12/13) as well as an adult friend and her 2 children attended keyboarding classes at the Center for Accessible Technology (2525 Eighth St., 841-3224) and acquired the requisite skills. They give one-hour daily classes, by the week, for much of the summer (and probably the rest of the year too). The environment is supportive, the teaching method effective. CAT's mission is to provide computer skills to assist persons with various kinds of disabilities (e.g., trouble with handwriting speed) but the classes are open to all.

A cautionary note: only practice will build up the speed and instinctiveness necessary to compose on the keyboard.