The Old Schoolhouse® Product & Curriculum Reviews

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Individualized Keyboarding Review by Holly Cameron

Don McCabe

This is another great product from the AVKO foundation. AVKO believes that most students want to be able to use a typewriter or a computer keyboard. (Most students today don't know what a typewriter is! That's okay, because this course works equally well for the computer keyboard.) Mr. McCabe titled the student book in this set Individualized Keyboarding, while entitling the teacher's book Improving Reading/Spelling Skills via Keyboarding.

The reason for this is simple; most students who have a reading or spelling problem do not want to admit it. Fear of being looked down upon as being a "remedial" student may prevent them from taking a keyboarding course if the book were to be entitled Improving Reading /Spelling skills via Keyboarding. This explanation alone shows AVKO's dedication to the people they are trying to reach. The caring is evident throughout, especially with their statements of affirmation found in all of their products, even this one!

The foundation really believes that if you follow these basic simple steps shown in all their products, then you will have success with reading and spelling! This keyboarding program is NOT designed to fit the mythical average student. It is designed so that the very slowest student can learn to handle a keyboard and to read what he is typing, provided he has someone helping him. Typing is kinesthetic; as the student types, the words are being implanted in his brain kinesthetically, which is a very important modality for the slower reader. The student will be learning to read as he learns to type.

The basis of the program teaches spelling patterns while teaching keyboarding. It is really a revolutionary idea, and I was excited when I saw it! My son with learning differences could do this! It is so hard to find things that he can do, and do successfully! Here is one of those products! Not only will he be learning keyboarding, but also he will be reinforcing the spelling patterns and word families that he needs to remember! AVKO's approach is much slower than traditional keyboard texts, but it is also extremely thorough, and very comprehensive! Your slow learner WILL learn with AVKO's approach.

The basic approach is that students go at his or her own pace. When he/she is finished with a lesson, he/she should check with you before going on. Each line is to be typed three times; the emphasis is on accurate typing, not on speed. In the first lesson, only three keys are introduced, so even the slowest learner can succeed. It takes 28 lessons before all the keys are introduced, which again is much slower than average texts, but all the while, reinforcement is happening. This really is a very innovative way to teach keyboarding, and is nothing at all like traditional texts, so don't be fooled when it looks so simple. This will work to help your student improve his reading and spelling skills.

The teacher guide is very important to the course and explains the reasoning behind the way they do things. I find it difficult, as a person who didn't have difficulty reading, to relate to my son who has great difficulty! This, and other products published by AVKO, has helped me to understand how my son's brain works, and has helped me learn how to teach him! The cost for the products is very low, yet the results are priceless!

-- Product Review by: Holly Cameron, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine