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The Importance of Typing Properly

Having taught 7th grade English for many years, I can safely say that 90% of the mistakes that I see are "stupid mistakes" (or, to put it more politely, "careless errors")

I'm talking about sentences like this one:

Almost certainly the student already knew that the "I" should be capitalized and the sentence should end with a period.

So why did the student turn in such sloppy work? For years, I assumed that:

    1. The student didn't care about their grade.
    2. The student was too lazy to proofread their own work.

Both of these things may be true, but I've become convinced that a third reason is even more to blame:

    1. The student never learned how to type properly.

Trust me, when I write a sentence, I never have to think about capitalizing an "I" or putting a period at the end of a sentence—because my fingers do these things automatically. And that's because, at one point in my life, I decided that I needed to learn how to type properly.

Touch Typing

Typing properly means touch typing—and that means resting your fingers on the keys and typing without looking at the keyboard.

Can you touch type? Really?

If I sound a bit skeptical, it's because I am. Maybe you think you can type. You've grown up using computers, and maybe you've gotten quite fast at typing with three or four fingers, and maybe you think that's good enough.

It's not. Here's why: Writing is both easier and faster if you keep your eyes on the words you are writing (or on the page that you are coyping from), instead of shifting your eyes back and forth between the screen and the keyboard. And if you're typing with only three or four fingers, I can almost gaurantee that you're spending a lot of time glancing down at the keyboard.

And that's a bad habit.

And that's why I worry. Because experience has taught me this: If you are anything like the typical 7th grader—you're going to login to Typing Club, and you're going to think to yourself: "I can knock out this typing lesson in two or three minutes, if I do it my way, with the fingers that I'm already used to. Or, I can do it with the "proper" fingers, without looking at the keyboard, but that's going to take me much longer, and it's going to be very frustrating. So I'm just going to do it my way, because all I really care about is earning these points as fast as I possibly can."

Does that sound like you?

I hope not. Because, let's face it: This class is probably your last, best opportunity to learn how to type properly. And if you don't seize this opportunity now, you will, very likely, spend the rest of your life typing with the same old bad habits that you have now. And that would be a tragedy.

So don't give in to tempation! Don't do your typing exercises "the fastest way possible". Instead, make up your mind: This year I will learn how to type properly. And at first it's going to be slow and frustrating, but in the end it will be worth it!

Was This Lesson Meant for You?

Okay, here's the truth:

About half of you already know how to type properly, using all your fingers, without looking at the keyboard. Good for you. Someone cared enough about you to force you to learn how to type the proper way, or maybe you decided to teach yourself. Either way, you are awesome. I love you. I love you because you probably make very few "stupid mistakes".

It's the other half that I'm worried about. So here is my final admonition to all of you who still glance down at the keyboard:

Learning how to type properly may well be the single most important thing that you will learn this year—if you are willing to seize this opportunity.

So seize it.

Lesson Steps

  1. Go back to Typing Club.

  2. For Typing Club, you don't need to remember a password, because you can login with Google.

  3. Do lessons 6–10. As frustrating as it may be at first, force yourself to type with the proper fingers, and never look at the keyboard!

  4. Remember, each star you earn is worth one point.

When you're finished, move on to the next lesson.