“To learn to read is to light a fire; every syllable that is spelled out is a spark.”
Spelling is an important ingredient of literacy. Spelling words accurately means students make a connection between letters and sounds, which can enhance pronunciation. Students who spell accurately also know the English alphabet and recognize word patterns, which helps them develop reading comprehension. Learning how to type letters on a keyboard is an engaging and hands-on way for students to enhance their spelling skills.
The free online typing games below display letters and words for students to locate on a keyboard quickly to accomplish a fun mission! Some of the websites also sound out the letters, which helps students remember the way letters and words sound.
Before engaging in typing practice, students should be familiar with the alphabet and learn proper finger placement on the keyboard. The following are tips and resources to help you pre‑teach both:
- Make sure students review the alphabet and become familiar with the sounds. Check out the post Let’s Learn the Alphabet Digitally to find several free websites and apps to help students learn the alphabet and associated letter sounds in fun ways.
- If you assign students a specific game, you can see what letters they will practice typing ahead of time and can introduce example words with these letters.
- This visual will help students locate the keyboard letters and know where to place their fingers to type the words more quickly and comfortably.
- Get students to practice this finger placement on a keyboard and practice several times typing the home row keys: A, S, D, F, J, K, L, ;.
- Students can also start learning about finger placement and where letters and symbols are on the keyboard with the Typetastic game, Keyboard Builder. This game gets students to use the arrow keys and type letters to build sections of the keyboard. The game is made for elementary age students.
Online Games & Typing Practice
These are recommended websites and descriptions to help you choose the most engaging typing practice for your students. At the top are recommended free websites with little or no advertisements and no registration. However, some of the websites may have advertisements, which is why they are free and do not require any registration. Make sure if you choose a game with advertisements that you let students know so they don’t accidentally click on the ads.
Typetastic is one of the best websites for elementary age children (11 years old and younger). The website offers free typing games and no registration is required. You can simply share the website url with your learners and they can begin. I recommend the following typing games, which are also advertisement free: Frog Pond, Cupcake Bugs, Astro Bubbles, Ducky Trouble, and Letter Trucks
Dance Mat Typing is from the BBC and is advertisement free. The purpose is to help students learn the home row keys and gain accuracy as well as build on their typing speed. The lessons build off each other with four different levels. Students learn to type sentences with animated animals and fun music. The website is geared to learners 12 years old and younger.
In Keyboard Climber 1 and Keyboard Climber 2 students type letters that are presented on the screen to help a monkey climb and eventually land on a planet. The games are geared to 7 years old and younger. These games are advertisement free.
Typing Town has some advertisements but is free and requires no registration. Students 12 and younger love this game which gets them to type words presented on the screen and rewards them with houses, swimming pools, buildings, cars, and other items to help them build their own towns. There are three levels for beginners to advanced.
Typing.com is full of tons of typing drills and games to help students learn the home row and practice typing words and sentences. Students get to see their typing speed and accuracy as well as receive certificates. The website is appropriate for teens, adolescents, and advanced typers. There are advertisements.
Nitrotype is a great game for adolescents and teens. Students type complete sentences they read on the screen. Their typing speed and accuracy determines how fast their race car goes. Students compete with other participants worldwide and win virtual prizes like new cars and money. The reading level is much higher, because students type paragraphs. Students can play as guests, but most will want to register for free to keep track of their earnings and compete against their classmates.
What other websites do you recommend to help young learners type and spell?
If you want to read more tips for online resources for teaching English, then check out Shelly’s blog feed!