Typing

Typing Tutor 10

Book cover: 'Typing Tutor 10'
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CD ROM for Windows 95/98 and Power Macintosh
Used on Windows ME and Windows XP systems for this review

In the era of the personal computer, good typing skills are essential. Children will benefit tremendously from learning to type while they're still in grade school, and Typing Tutor 10 is all you'll need to teach this valuable skill.

The program begins by asking for skill level (beginner, hunt-and- peck, or touch typist). Depending on the level, there may be a placement test. After that, there are 32 standard lessons, plus additional customized lessons for certain keys, or for strengthening certain fingers. A dynamic display shows the proper placement of fingers on the keyboard for each letter as it's typed. An envelope icon appears on the screen for each new lesson, containing instructions for what to do next.

A great feature of this program is the customization menu, which allows you to adapt the program in a myriad of ways. The learner (or teacher) can set the length of lessons (from 1 to 9 minutes), the background color and music (with selections from classical, jazz, pop, etc.), the font size, and more. The program has "practice sessions", with over a hundred different excerpts from books and magazines. Many of the selections are classics (Tom Sawyer, Alice in Wonderland, Sense and Sensibility). I found only one magazine article that might be objectionable (in the category of New Age, on "Channeling"). The solution is simple: use the customization screen to eliminate that category as a choice.

There are eight highly entertaining games, which are a nice break from the lessons while still providing practice time. My kids and I have had great fun trying to outrace the leaping frog on the stone path by typing words more rapidly than the frog can jump, or trying to keep our log-rolling contestant on his spinning log by typing as rapidly and accurately as possible.

Progress reports, which can be viewed onscreen or printed out, give a thorough summary of lessons completed, length of sessions in minutes, typing speed in words-per-minute, and accuracy ratings. These make a nice portfolio entry for homeschool record-keeping.

I would recommend Typing Tutor 10 for children starting at about age 10, after they've had a few years to work on their penmanship, and at just about the time they're expected to begin writing longer reports and essays. It's versatile enough for anyone to use, though, including teens and adults.

Additional notes: 

I learned to type when I was a freshman in high school using a much earlier version of Typing Tutor (on the Commodore 64). My typing proficiency that began with this program was such that I was typing at 100 wpm + by junior year and paid my way through college with secretarial jobs. I was very pleased to find this newer version of Typing Tutor to use with my own children and find the structure and format to be quite similar. - A.V.H. (4-21-04)

Review Date: 
4-14-04
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