Pre-Keys!


by Doc Frog

Lesson Four
Begin With the Number Row

Lesson Four introduces the letter rows with fingers hopping (like frogs) from the number keys to the letter keys. Allow each student (S) to look at the keys and to use his or her preferred finger for this lesson (they might use the Pre-Keys poke pads for this). Then, have the S repeat the activity without looking down at the keyboard (this would require a word processor so that there is instant visual reinforcement on the monitor that they are pressing the correct keys).

Use the CAPS LOCK so that the letters on the keyboard match the letters on the screen. Repeat with caps lock off; note that the numbers do not change with caps lock. The T will model starting with the numeral 1 key, then hop down the column to Q, A, and Z. Next, start with the 2 key and hop down to W, S, and X, etc. Separate sets of numbers and letters by striking the SPACE BAR or TAB keys.

A. “My turn, watch me.”

Start with the left hand and type the following:

1QAZ 2WSX 3EDC 4RFV 5TGB

“Your turn, I’ll watch.”

Repeat each line until it becomes fluent. Praise both effort and achievement.


B. “My turn, watch me.”

The T then models the right hand:

6YHN 7UJM 8IK, 9OL. 0P;/

“Your turn, I’ll watch.”

Repeat each line until it becomes fluent. Praise both effort and achievement.

C. Remove the CAPS LOCK and guide each S as he or she matches the upper case letters on the keyboard to the lower case letters on the screen.

1qaz 2wsx 3edc 4rfv 5tgb

6yhn 7ujm 8ik, 9ol. 0p;/



D. Practice both the number row keys and the Q row keys with and without the CAPS LOCK:


1Q1Q 2W2W 3E3E 4R4R 5T5T 1q1q 2w2w 3e3e 4r4r 5t5t

6Y6Y 7U7U 8I8I 9O9O 0P0P 6y6y 7u7u 8i8i 9o9o 0p0p


E. Encourage each S to repeat Lesson Four, both with and without CAPS LOCK, until s/he can feel comfortable with not looking down at the keyboard. Lay a piece of cloth or paper over the hands to hide the keys; encourage them to "look up" and watch the screen. Encourage the use of peripheral vision to look everywhere at once.



F. Allow each S to practice the traditional home row A S D F J K L ; pattern as well as Q W E R T Y U I O P "Q row or QWERTY row" and then the "Z row" Z X C V B N M keys. Encourage each S to use the right pinky to press punctuation keys. Encourage proper use of the left and right pinky fingers for Shift Key manipulation. Always use the right pinky for Backspace or Delete key. Model the correct use of right pinky finger for Enter/Return and Backspace keys. Sing with the students the song, "Pinkey Power."

G. End the lesson with a speed test on the number row keys for 30 seconds. Graph the score and compare against earlier scores.