The answer is an astounding YES, for the following benefits I am about to show you.
Most educators and parents still believe that we should wait until the student is ready before we can teach them how to type. The truth of the matter is that typing doesn’t require more motor skills than handwriting. If we don’t wait till children are “ready” to hold a pencil to write, we shouldn’t wait till they are “ready” to touch the keyboard. The most effective way to teach young children how to write is to give them a pencil and paper. Teaching young children to type is no different. My experience has shown me that teaching young children to type early has many benefits.
I began teaching my daughters how to type soon after they began to experiment writing in pencil. There are obvious benefits to this strategy. First and foremost it freed my children from the frustration of not being able to write legible words (boys struggle more than girls, in general) with a pencil. Typing words on the computer gave them a clear and clean copy; it makes them feel confident and proud.
The second benefit I noticed is that typing helped my children become familiar with letters and spelling. If they don’t know how to spell certain words, help is just a click away. These convenient and speedy methods of obtaining help encourages children to learn with ease and confidence The third benefit of teaching children to type when they are as young as five years old is that it alleviates their fear of making mistakes and the trouble it takes to erase mistakes. With typing, they feel free and liberated to write anything they want, because they know it will be easy to change if they make a mistake or come up with a better idea. In turn, it helps unleash their creativity and inhibition.
The fourth benefit is the effortless introduction of research skills. Once children have become efficient typists, they can obtain resources and information to enhance their learning and accomplish their projects with ease.
Prolific seven-year-old author Adora Svitak, would not have been able to write over 330,000 words in fourteen months if not for her early introduction to typing. She started to hold the pencil to write at age two, started to play on the computer around age two- and-a-half, took her typing lesson at age five and became a fast typist (capable of typing 70 words per minute) at age seven. Not only did learning to type not slow her handwriting down, she actually welcomes switching to handwriting once in a while. She enjoys writing both on the computer and with her hands. As we don’t wait till children are “ready” to print perfectly before we teach them to write, we shouldn’t wait till children are in fourth or fifth grade to teach them how to type. Typing and handwriting lessons should be introduced simultaneously.
Joyce Svitak is the co-author of “flying fingers" with her daughter Adora Svitak. Please visit http://www.adorasvitak.com to learn about how to help your child to succeed in learning.