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Sunday, November 13, 2011

Keyboard Town Pals

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Keyboard Town Pals is a typing program that claims to teach children ages 7-12 to type in one hour. The student will learn the entire alphabet and it is available on CD for $35.00 or web based for $30.00.  Keyboard Town Pals was founded by Rita Herman and Donna Katz and is based on five years of research and it was created to help children develop and refine their typing. It is recommended that the eight 6-8 minute lessons be broken up into two 30 minute time periods or you could complete one lesson per day.  This program uses the same four psycho-motor skills to teach typing as you use to learn to ride a bike.
  1. Conscious Learning - focus attention on a new activity. 
  2. Trial and Error - mimic the action. 
  3. Refinement and Practice - repeat the action and build muscle memory.
  4. Automatic Performance – execute without conscience thought.

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Keyboard Town Pals use ragtime music and puppets to teach the three rows of letters on the keyboard. Sunny takes the children down 3 streets to visit each letter home. The letter is introduced and the child meets the puppet that lives there. A keyboard with a hand then demonstrates the move of the finger used to type the letter that was just introduced. Sunny starts on Homekey Street with the letter A and Amy lives there. Amy then take us to visit the zebra in the Z house on Downtown street. Then Amy takes us to visit the Q house on Uptown Street. Amy then repeats what has just been taught and has the child type them. They continue through the rest of the alphabet. Once both hands are used the child is directed to type short words. There is also an assessment page where the alphabet is typed in order and then backwards for practice. Additional typing practice should be added.

I used this program with all three of my girls ages 6, 9, and 10. My 9 year old was the only one who wanted to use the program more than once. They liked the puppets and they loved learning all the letters at once but they didn't like the way the puppets spoke to them. They told me that the puppets spoke to them as if they were babies.

I really like the concept of this program but I have to agree with my girls that it seems like the puppets are speaking to a younger age group than the 7-12 that this program is recommended for. When the kids are typing the letters show up in the typing box but the child is not told if they hit the wrong key or even if they don't type at all. I understand that Typing Town Pals doesn't want to discourage the child but as a homeschool family we grade everything we do immediately so we can correct out mistakes right away while the subject is still fresh on our minds. It would be nice if you had the option for the program to let the child know they were typing the wrong letter. My children were more familiar with the keyboard after using Town Pals but they will need more practice before they are typing well.
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Keyboard Town Pals also has finger puppets and coloring books to go along with the typing program and they are offering free shipping until December 31, 2011.
Sail over to the Crew Blog and read what other members thought about Keyboard Town Pals.
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As a member of the TOS Crew I received a 30 day trial subscription to Keyboard Town Pals to use with my children in exchange for my review.

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