Wednesday, November 9, 2011

TOS Review of Keyboard Town Pals

Have you wanted to introduce typing to a younger child, but feared they weren't ready?  Keyboard Town Pals is a wonderful introductory typing program geared toward early elementary aged kids.  My 8 year old daughter LOVED learning to type with Keyboard Town Pals! 

The method is just as the name suggests.  Each letter has a name such as Amy for "a" or Frank for "f".  The characters are brought to life as finger puppets and either remain on Homekey street (the middle row) or go uptown (qwerty row) or downtown for different mnemonic activities.  For instance, when Amy goes downtown she feeds the zebra.  This shows your child that the same finger is used to type both "a" and "z" and that the ''z" key is down from "a".

Keyboard Town Pals is fun and friendly.  There are no timed typing quizzes or loud buzzers that sound when a mistake is made.  In fact, the delete and backspace keys have been disabled so that there is no pressure to fix mistakes.  Keyboard Town Pals is a positive, no stress learning experience for your child.

On the Keyboard Town Pals website, they assert that any child who is able to distinguish the letters from one another is ready to learn to type with their program.  This is probably true for young children whose parents are willing to sit at their elbow as they type.  My 8 year old daughter flew through all 8 lessons, one for each of the 8 home keys, and is well on her way to learning to type.  She has the confidence now to type stories on Microsoft Word using the proper form rather than her old hunt and peck method.  Keyboard Town Pals seemed really well suited to her learning style as it kept her engaged throughout each lesson.  (It helped that the lessons are so short.  The entire program takes one hour, broken into 8 lessons.)  However, my 5 year old son, who is reading on a first grade level, was not able to do the lessons correctly without my help.  I purposefully left him alone after helping him through the first lesson to see if he was keeping his left hand on the keyboard, but he was hunting and pecking to type the correct keys.  All that by way of saying, I think it requires some degree of finger dexterity that my 5 year old does not yet have.  If your 5 year old plays the piano or video games, he would probably do fine.  (My son is still not tying his shoes.) 

If you're looking for a fun, non-threatening program to help your early elementary aged child learn to type, then you'll be happy with Keyboard Town Pals.  If you're a crazy mom who wants to know how many words per minute your child is typing then this may not be for you.  (I'm sure I don't know anyone like that. : )  I think Keyboard Town Pals is a great first typing program and I really don't think my 8 year old daughter would have stuck with the program my older kids use.  The cute mnemonic phrases used in Keyboard Town Pals have stayed with my daughter.  She completed the program a week or so ago and in the car today she was able to tell them to me.  This program really does work.  I'm amazed that my 8 year old can type!  She's still slow and she can't spell worth a darn, but she can type.

You can purchase Keyboard Town Pals for $39.95 in either instant download or CD-ROM format.  Keyboard Town Pals is also available in Spanish and French!  And the makers of Keyboard Town Pals have recently released Little Hands Can Type, a keyboard readiness program that you can purchase in a bundle along with Keyboard Town Pals for $49.95 or for $59.95 including a concentration game, coloring book, and sticker set.  (My 5 year would probably have benefitted from completing Little Hands Can Type first.)


Please check out the other TOS crew reviews for Keyboard Town Pals.

Disclaimer:  I received a free CD-ROM version of Keyboard Town Pals in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions expressed above are my own.

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I'm an on-the-run mom to 6 kids who studied and taught exercise science in a previous life. I love all things running, nutrition, and health-related. I usually run at zero dark thirty in the morning and am often quite hungry before, during, and after my run, but I live a rich, full, blessed life with my children, family, and friends. My faith in God is my anchor, and looking to Him and His promises allows me to live fully even when life circumstances are difficult. While running gives me an appetite, my desire is to hunger and thirst for righteousness more than for physical food.