Typing And Memorizing

Typing for sake of typing is a boring.  Typing what needs to be memorized is a great way to build keyboarding skills.  The following are all related to typing and memorizing.


Many years ago, I learned to memorize definitions for a college class by putting the terminology into a text file I could use in a speed typing program.   This is when I learned the value of speed typing with my own text.  Many years later, while visiting online forums for struggling readers, I learned that my habit of typing for memorization is highly recommended for those with dyslexia and attention deficit.

This works better than printed flashcards because a typist is forced to pay attention to each and every letter.  By receiving immediate feedback for each mistake only what it correct is reinforced.

This method is very effective for memorizing spelling, vocabulary, and key concepts.  This also works well for memorizing presentations such as oral book reports, science fair interviews, and debates.

To reinforce correct pronunciation, unfamiliar text is played in a text-to-speech reader before it is placed into a typing test.  A collection of my favorite FREE text-to-speech readers are in REFERENCE DESK filed under MY REFERENCE DESK.


Any typing program that allows you to insert your own text will work.  My favorite speed typing program is http://www.speedtypingonline.com/typing-test.  The following is a list of like about this program:

  1. I can put my own text in the test.   (I put whatever would usually go on a flashcard.)
  2. The text repeats until the time is up.   Because of this feature, I place small blocks of information (like one concept at a time) in the test at a time so memorization and speed can be worked on at the same time.
  3. I can change the time of the test.  (I changed the test time to 10 minutes because we found it was easier to memorize text with 10 minutes of timed-speed testing at a time.)
  4. It provides immediate feedback.  (I watched my child read each word, then say each letter as he typed it.  He needs to work on attention to detail so this immediate feedback with an immediate opportunity to fix it encouraged him to keep going.   This is an important feature because my child wants to guess words based on their first letter.)
  5. Having the program give him feedback INSTEAD OF ME makes us both happier!
  6. It gives DETAILED feedback after the test.   To make the test fun, encouraging and NOT overly frustrating my son and I compete for the highest percent accuracy.  We count scores that were achieved through touch typing and have ZERO errors.   You can achieve zero errors on the final report by correcting any errors before the timer runs out.  Once we mastered 97% accuracy on a regular basis, we focus on speed at that level of accuracy.
  7. It’s FREE.

The following is what I DO NOT like about this program:

  1. It does NOT recognize the CARRIER RETURN.  You must remember to use the space bar instead of the carrier return when advancing to the next line.
  2. It does NOT recognize HYPHENS or APOSTROPHES.   If your child is discouraged with having an error rate greater than zero, then remove the hyphens and apostrophes.


When my son was age 6 he learned touch typing on a game.   He mastered 6 words per minute (WPM) with 100% accuracy at touch typing.   He like the game enough to learn, but didn’t like touch typing and soon forgot.   At the beginning of sixth grade, he reviewed those skills I have listed below.  He scored 9 WPM with 97.8 % accuracy on the first try.  We learned that he enjoys typing now that his hands are adult size.  At the beginning of 7th grade, he  reached 20 WPM with over 96% accuracy.  The following are FREE touch typing programs:


I managed to type this whole blog at the snail speed of 40 WPM with 97% accuracy.  A very long time ago, I tested at over 95 WPM with 98% accuracy.  Since then, I found that 40 WPM is a good speed for “thinking through my fingers” so this is the minimum speed/goal I set for my child to attain by 9th grade.  If typing at 240+ WPM becomes interesting, then on to Typeracer at http://play.typeracer.com.

* * *


Today the best flashcard programs include typing the correct answer to win.    Once your student masters touch typing (without having to look at the keyboard), he will be able to compete in the typing games without too much frustration.   A list of FREE online flashcards is in ALL SUBJECTS which is filed under LEARNING LINKS.


My child enjoys trying to beat high scores and I enjoy him merrily memorizing key terminology.  To encourage lively competition, I invite other moms to pit their kids against mine on a specific particular flashcard set on Quizlet.com.  You can compete and post scores whether you sign up with Quizlet or not.   To track scores without signing up, you can screen shot of your best score, then compare the high scores on a document that has collaborative features such as Google Doc.

For screen shots from the computer, I use the SNIP IT tool.  This comes standard with in the Windows operating system.    For sharing, I use Google Doc to post the screen shot and give specific people the ability to edit that document by posting their score.  Of course, it is way easy to simply call or message the top score.  The reason I suggest posting screen shots on a collaborative document is because this skill is important for collaborative work done in middle school and beyond.   This helps friends work collaboratively even if they no longer live nearby.

To learn more about Snip It, visit http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-vista/use-snipping-tool-to-capture-screen-shots.

To learn more about collaborative documents, visit Google Docs docs.google.com.


My first experience with mnemonics was at age 12.   My mother and I read a book (Super Power Memory by Harry S. Lorraine) and practiced the memory tricks together.    A system for storing and retrieving information is very useful.  I highly recommend it.   One of the best indicators of academic success is the ability to store massive volumes of information that can be easily retrieved.   Memory tricks teach you how to do this.

Memory is a muscle that needs to be exercised or it weakens.  I know this for a fact from personal experience.  I highly recommend adding a thorough understanding and mastery of memorization tricks to your home schooling.

The following are a variety of resources related to memory:

The following are memory resources available at our local library:

  • L.E.A.R.N.:  Playful Strategies for All Students by Regina G. Richards [softcover 2001]
  • Vocabutoons: vocabulary cartoons: building an educated vocabulary with visual mnemonics by Sam Burchers [softcover 1997] – I have this book and enjoy it
  • Younger brain, sharper mind: a 6-step plan for preserving and improving memory and attention at any age by Eric R. Braverman [softcover c2011] – “Younger brain, sharper mind : a 6-step plan for preserving and improving memory and attention at any age”
  • The better brain book: The best tools for improving memory, sharpness, and preventing aging of the brain by David Perlmutter, M.D. [c2005]


No matter how well my child does at memorizing, he needs organizational skills to keep on track.   Memory and organizational skills go hand in hand.   For more information, visit PLANNING AND ORGANIZING filed under MY REFERENCE DESK.

* * *

“Memory is a lost art. These days we rely on our phone, iPads and
computers to memorize things of our behalf, as a result
we are not exercising our most important mental muscle – our Brains.”
Tony Buzan,


3 Responses to Typing And Memorizing

  1. Karyn says:

    Okay, I tried the test and it wouldn’t recognise the apostrophe. Did you have that problem? I couldn’t get 100% and it made me mad! 🙂

    • Karyn,

      If you are using the same text as I gave, no I didn’t have that problem. Once we exchanged the “&” for “-” we were able to get an error rate of zero. We always made some mistakes, but corrected them. Neither of us ever got 100%.

      I will remove those problem symbols for the test so 100% accuracy is possible or we will be mad too.

      • Karyn,
        Correction. I didn’t notice the problem until after you mentioned it. Yes, I see the apostrophe problem now so I removed them.
        After a year of astronomy, I would like that info to NOT fall out of my boy’s head so I have complied a typing test for astronomy. I will post it soon. I have botany terminology coming up very soon also.

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