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Type to Learn Six Month Subscription Review by Kelly Burgess

Sunburst Digital
(800) 356-3209
9550 West Higgins Road, Suite 975
Rosemont, IL 60018

A one-year subscription to Type to Learn is currently offered to homeschoolers through the Homeschool Buyer’s Co-op for $29.95 for one student (additional students are $24.95 each). Type to Learn is an online cloud-based learning program, so there is no software to download, but you’ll need internet access to use it. It’s compatible with Chromebooks, laptops, desktops, and iPads with external keyboards. This online typing instructor includes both lessons and games to keep your child interested and committed to practicing their skills.

This program is offered at three levels: kindergarten through second, third through sixth, and seventh through twelfth grades. The difference in the levels affects only the vocabulary that is presented, the volume of words presented, and the default WPM and accuracy goals. The level is determined based upon the grade level you indicate for your child when you sign up. If at some point you need to change the level because your child has completed the program and still has time remaining on his or her subscription, you can have the student moved up to the next level.

Parents can access students’ progress reports and see how they’re doing along the way. The program includes a total of thirty-four lessons and five different typing games that target specific typing skills, as well as five assessments. There is also a diagnostic pre-test that helps set the child’s starting goals automatically.

A lesson must be completed in order to save progress, so it’s important to complete the lesson before ending a practice session. Students can go at their own pace, but I prefer to schedule regular practice assignments for my student. I started out having my fifth grader do one complete lesson with the five corresponding games before stopping his session, but we found that to be too lengthy, and he grew overwhelmed with the amount of time it took him to complete it. We quickly readjusted to doing two sessions per week, with the first assignment being completion of a lesson and the second assignment being completion of the games section for that lesson. That worked out much better, and he was better able to enjoy the fun of doing the games at the end of the week.

He’s been using the program for a number of weeks now. In the beginning, he enjoyed the game-style approach to the program. However, over time, he found it to be repetitive, and it wasn’t as much fun for him as when he started out. He has been successful so far, though, at meeting his goals by using the program regularly, so it does seem to be effective. We do have high speed internet, but our network signal can be sketchy at times. His school computer uses Wi-Fi, and he found it annoying that there was sometimes a delay from when he typed a letter to when it would appear on the screen. I would sometimes have him switch to my own laptop, which has a hard-wired connection, and then he didn’t experience that problem. As a result, I would definitely recommend that you have a solid internet and/or network signal in order to use the program effectively.

Overall, it is a solid program that is easy to use and offers a variety of ways to practice typing skills. I love that it saves his scores for me so I can check in at any time to see how he is doing. I also like the “shadow hands” that appear on the screen over a virtual keyboard that show the keys should be striking. This is a great way to discourage him from looking at his own hands but still be aware of his hand movements in a visual way. Type to Learn is a flexible program that allows your students to work at their own pace while gaining valuable keyboarding skills.

-Product review by Kelly Burgess, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, November, 2018