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An overview of typing tutors that are particularly suitable for use with children and adults who have dyslexia.
Anyone who regularly uses a computer understands the need to be able to type quickly and accurately. Computers are a great tool for both dyslexic adults and children and it is important to become familiar and confident with using the computer as quickly as possible. Researchers have also shown that learning to type early on, in the first few years of schooling, can benefit students’ reading, comprehension, vocabulary and spelling skills.
A good typing tutor will enable the user to learn their way around the keyboard quickly without losing interest in using the computer. For dyslexics this is particularly important as the quicker they learn to type, the quicker they can fully appreciate the tools available to them through using a computer. But typing tutors by their nature are repetitive and time consuming with little to show for it at the outcome. Therefore it is important that any typing program is effective, fun to use and quick to progress through. We’ve tried to pick what we feel are the most fun and effective typing tutors. Here we’ll give a run down of why we’ve chosen them and who they are suitable for.
It is important for any software aimed at dyslexics to use a multisensory approach. For typing tutors this means having both text and audio instructions, with a picture of the keyboard on screen at all times. If there are no audio options then it is useful to be able to use text-to-speech programs to read out the instructions. Other features we look out for in a dyslexia-friendly typing tutor are:
No one typing program suits all dyslexic users. The most appropriate program depends on the individual user. The issues that need to be thought about include:
In this section we will give a short summary of each program, including its positive and negative aspects. The links through the software package name take you to the individual product page which give more details including prices and minimum specifications. If you interested in typing tutors for adults then read below.
KAZ SEN Dyslexia typing tutor is a popular British keyboard-training product that uses a simple, three-step approach to learn touch-typing. In the first step KAZ quickly familiarises you with the keyboard using five clever phrases. After this the user progresses on to an accuracy stage where the user practices typing first on individual words, then sentences, then paragraphs. Finally there is a speed building section where the user’s speed and accuracy is tested using sentences appropriate to their reading level.
Kaz SEN Dyslexia typing tutor only uses real words for teaching typing which makes it very dyslexic friendly. The instructions are available either as text on the screen or as speech but this must be chosen on installation. As the user can progress through the program quickly and jump from section to section, it is particularly good for users who already have some basic keyboarding skills. Although Kaz does not contain any games or challenges for practising typing skills, this is seen as a benefit to many adult users who find them a distraction from developing their skills.
Age: 7-14 years Setting: School or home Teacher’s settings: Yes. Choose the level of vocabulary used in the lessons, which lesson the student is on and monitor progress. Number of lessons: 8 Average length of lesson: 15 minutes Number of games: 5
EnglishType Junior uses a mixture of lessons and games to harness your brain’s ability to memorise movements without looking at the keyboard. Instructions are given in writing but also spoken. The material used in the lessons is tied to the National Curriculum with similar sounding words being used in each activity. Fun to use and easy to set-up, EnglishType Junior is suitable for both home and school and can be highly motivating for children.
Age: 12-16 years Setting: School or home School or home Teacher’s settings: Yes. Choose the level of vocabulary used in the lessons, which lesson the student is on and monitor progress. Number of lessons: 12 Average length of lesson: 15 minutes Number of games: 3
EnglishType Senior uses a mixture of lessons and games to harness your brain’s ability to memorise movements without looking at the keyboard. Instructions are given in writing but also spoken and colour is used to help learning. The material used in the lessons is based on 300 most commonly used words in adult vocabulary and includes quotations and proverbs. Different speed options make it excellent for mixed ability groups; challenging the brightest and providing extra help for those that need a slower pace of learning.