Keyboarding for Speed and Accuracy

What can you do when the student knows the keyboard but needs some practice
to improve speed and accuracy? What can you do with your reluctant typist?
The activities below offer a mental challenge or involve memory or imagination
and are designed to motivate students. Lots of encouragement for your reluctant
typist may also be helpful!

Practice activities

  • List the AFL teams with their colours and mascots beside them
    eg Essendon – Red and Black – Bombers
  • List the name of six friends, their hair/eye colour (may need some help
    with this) and their football team
    eg Melissa Mitrevska – black/brown – Geelong
  • List all your favourite basketball players with their team names
  • Type the list of Top 10 (or 20, 30, or 40) popular songs from the charts
    with artists tabbed in a second column
  • List the contents of your bedroom
  • List all the streets near your house
  • List all the suburbs you that you can remember
  • List all the railway stations that you can remember
  • List the days of the week, then months of the year
  • See how many words you can make up and type from these starter words:

    computer, table, sunshine, waiting, thunder, transport, agreeable etc

  • See how many four letter words you can make which begin with: h, b,
    t, g etc
  • Play “Scattegories” using the computer – list A-Z on the computer
    and decide on the category eg animals. Set a timer/mobile for a few minutes
    and see how many animals each of you can obtain
  • Copy a piece of school work with the screen covered for 10 minutes.
    How many mistakes did you make? How many words did you write? Use the
    Tools option to word count the document.
  • Dictation – listen to your family talk and try to write down as many
    words as you can in 10 minutes. What is your score? Word count it. Do
    any of the sentences make sense?
  • Write a diary entry each day for two weeks – you could give yourself
    10-15 minutes each day. Did the entries change over time? Why do you think
  • Write a list of the “shortcut” keys you know
  • Write an email to a friend
  • Boomerang stories – type a story on and email message with the heading
    “Part 1” for 3-5 minutes then send it to the next person. The
    recipient then replies with “Part 2” and continues the story.
    The story continues until one person says “Conclusion” and writes
    the ending. You may want to suggest the particular genre eg romance or
  • Animal/mineral/vegetable – students are in a pair and swap an email
    with their partner in which the subject of the email is a letter of the
    alphabet. The body of the email contains the following to be completed:

    • An animal
    • A plant
    • A non-living thing
    • A place
    • A colour
    • A boy’s name
    • A girl’s name
  • Topic information – using a topic from your school or your own, search
    the internet to find interesting information about your topic eg cats.
    Copy and paste to make a document which you can present. Remember to use
    your shortcut keys.
  • Free association typing: the visiting teacher calls out a starter word
    eg lunch, happy, pet, today etc which the student types.Then the student
    responds with a free association word which he/she types eg food, sad,
    dog, now etc. The visiting teacher then replies with a word to be typed
    eg eggs, dog, cat, often, and continues this back and forth.
  • Turn typing (good for the very reluctant typist, who also benefits from
    observing and modelling correct typing habits from the visiting teacher)
    – the visiting teacher types an initial sentence and the student makes
    up and types the next one of the story. Sometimes this is enough to get
    a creative student to keep on typing for half an hour or so. However for
    a very reluctant typist you will probably need to keep on taking turns
    in typing sentences in the story. For example:

    • As Donna walked home from school she saw that behind the hills an
      ominous brown cloud was forming…
    • Ferdy was one of the happiest frogs in his pond…
    • When Karen first started at her new school she didn’t know what
      to expect of her new classmates…
  • Typing letters (brainstorm an issue relevant to the student), for example:
  • Pretend your favourite TV show has been taken off the air. Write a letter
    of complaint to TV Week asking for it to be put back on.
  • Imagine you are on a two week school camp. Type a letter home to tell
    friends or family what you have been doing.
  • Speed and repeated typing – using a medium length sentence that the
    student can remember, see how many times they can type the sentence in
    a minute or in 5 minutes. Students find that they can type increasingly
    more words within the time span as they get more practice. It is very
    rewarding! Sentence examples:

    • On the weekend I played with my dog.
    • Most people like ice-cream and sweets.
    • You can watch basketball on television.
  • If you observe a student making repeated errors on a particular letter,
    use a well-known tongue twister or invent your own to practice that letter

    • Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.
    • She sells seashells by the seashore.
    • Whispering winds waved wearily away.
  • Creative stories / Fractured fairy tales – for the imaginative student
    with a sense of humour, well known fairy tales can be modernised, humourised
    or turned into a news item! eg The Three Little Pigs, Cinderella, Goldilocks

    • Last night police mounted a search for pretty young woman who left
      behind one of her dancing shoes on the steps of a city nightclub…
    • Two brother pigs are recovering from their fright after being left
      homeless by a wolf blowing their homes down…
  • Descriptive typing – an idea that may encourage your student to observe
    objects or people more closely:

    • using the stimulus of items in the room (eg a poster showing stationery
      items) or a picture brought by the visiting teacher, have the student
      type describing the features of that picture or object.
    • type a description of a favourite sports or popstar.
  • Rhymes and songs – this activity may help the student to develop a rhythm
    to typing:
    Type nursery rhymes already known by heart, or other poems brought in
    by the visiting teacher which can be sight typed or recited/dictated to
  • Type favourite songs (from memory) or bring in lyrics to retype

Adapted from notes prepared by visiting teachers Denise Probert and Odette

See also the SVRC typing page