Where you can learn about, share, and discuss teaching keyboarding

How fast is fast enough?

The big question about evaluating keyboarding is “What is the optimal speed?” “How many WPM should we expect of a third grader?” I say that since keyboarding should be seen as an alternative to handwriting, then we should give them a target of 1 word faster then they can handwrite. I have read that the average 4th grader handwrites about 14 words per minute. That means that 4th graders should key at about 15 WPM. You can also test each individual and set individual goals.

It’s not about training secretaries for typing pools any longer. You may remember (or heard about) the times when secretaries typed what bosses scrawled on a piece of paper. Now, people use keyboarding as a primary form of composing. They write what they think as they think it. This means that it is replacing handwriting.

The advantage to keyboarding, however, is that when a student keys a story into a word processor it is in a dynamic work that can be easily changed. This means that revision is simpler. The key to teaching writing is to write and revise and write again. This means that in this environment students can become better writers quicker.

Keyboarding programs at the elementary levels should be designed to provide skills that make writing faster and more efficient. Students will not learn how to keyboard if they only get to a computer lab 2 times a week for 20 minutes. They need to have constant access to keyboards and compose their creative writing assignment on-line.

Dr. Z (12/2007)


Comments on: "How Fast Should They Keyboard?" (4)

  1. Thanks for the insight. In your opinion, how much training/practice should 4th graders have before being able to attain 15 wpm? I teach 4th graders for 25 days, 30-minute session each day. Is it unrealistic to expect the majority of my students to be at 15 wpm by the end of this time period?

  2. Kate,
    I depends upon where the students are when they first see you and how long you have them.
    Is it for 25 consecutive days?
    How are you teaching them? Are you using software or a typing book?
    Do they get to practice at home?
    What types of motivational techniques do you use?

    thanks for the list of sites. I can’t wait until I review them.


  3. 25 consecutive days
    Bernie’s Typing Travels, some dictation, some practice on DanceMat
    Some students practice at home, some don’t have computer access
    Motivation: various games, real-world examples of why we need to know how to keyboard – most of my praise, rewards is based on technique/not looking at keyboard rather than speed since this is their first introduction to touch typing

  4. Dr. Z,

    I am trying to print out the 5″ color no peekee keyboard that is supposed to be accessible via the link on the right side of your webpage. When I click on the link, it says the document is not found/not available.

    Can you please send me a link that works or the document containing the NoPeekee Keyboard.

    Thank you,

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