Lesson 1: Home Row, Left Hand
Welcome to Lesson 1! First, a little orientation: at the top of every lesson you'll see a diagram of the keyboard that highlights in yellow the keys you will be working on. In subsequent lessons the keys you have already learned will be coloured green. It is vital that you will have mastered those keys before moving onto a new lesson. Mastery, for purposes of this course means that you can confidently and consistently type a lesson exercise in under 60 seconds with NO errors.
With that out of the way, here we go!
The home row is a key concept in typing (sorry for the pun!). It is that middle horizontal row of the keyboard that starts with A and goes all the way across. The idea behind the home row is that each finger remains in light contact with a particular key there when it is not typing in order to keep "grounded", providing a reference point for every other key. Here are the "home keys" for each of your 8 fingers:
If you have a relatively recent keyboard, it more than likey has some sort of bump you can feel on the F and J keys, where your index fingers go. This is of course to help you quickly find the home row when you're not looking at the keyboard.
Place your fingers gently on their respective keys now, light enough so that you are not actually pressing them! This is where your fingers "hang out" when they're not typing, and where they "spring" back to just after they have finished typing another key somewhere else. It is very important for your fingers to be able to go to these keys at any time, at a split second's notice. Practice taking your hands away and placing them on these keys several times, until you can do it confidently, and without looking.
The space bar is pressed with either thumb. Most people probably use only one thumb, the one on their dominant hand. The thumbs basically float comfortably in the air when not in use.
Below is your first interactive exercise based on the four left-hand home keys: ASDF. These are typed with the left-hand pinky, ring finger, middle finger and index finger respectively. Before typing even a single letter, please keep ALL of the Principles for Effective Learning in mind. Here are the instructions; all the exercises in all the lessons work this way, so read carefully:
- This course makes use of the free Adobe Flash Player, available for all major browser and platforms. Chances are you have it installed already, but if you don't click here to download it. It's free and a snap to install.
- Press the "Click here to start" button, then type what you see on the screen. If you type correctly, the letter will turn to grey. If you err, it won't, and you will hear an error sound.
- To do the same again (which you should do if you make ANY mistakes), press the "Go again!" button that appears when you finish.
- To get a new exercise, reload the page.
- Remember, shoot for no errors!! That is the most important thing right now. Speed means nothing; certainty and correctness are what's important.
- For practical purposes, you can consider yourself having mastered an exercise only if you are able to type three reloaded screens of exercises in a row in under 60 seconds each, with no errors, confidently.
Sorry for the nonsense words to come, but there's only so much you can do with only 4 letters and the space bar! Press the button when you are ready to begin. Make sure you are going slow enough to prevent mistakes! Be sure of every key; do not guess. And of course, don't look at the keyboard!
If you do not see the interactive exercise above, you may require the free Adobe Flash Player.
It is available for all major browser and platforms, and is a piece of cake to install. Click here to download it.