BY LOUISE R. SHAW
Clipper Staff Writer
LAYTON — You might be as smart as a fifth grader, but can you type as fast as a sixth grader?
Keyboarding, a skill taught in Davis County schools starting in third grade, has caught the interest of some young experts, and 140 of them met at Legacy Junior High last month for the third annual keyboarding competition.
The winner, Josie Attanasio, a sixth grader from Burton Elementary, keyed 109 words per minute.
“Just beyond belief,” said Holly Handy, curriculum supervisor for keyboard and technology programs in the Davis School District’s elementary schools.
Using international typing contest rules, two words a minute are deducted for each error, said Handy. Without her few errors, Attanasio would have clocked closer to 120 words per minute, said Handy. The next top speed was a brisk 85 words per minute.
Students from fourth, fifth and sixth grades represented their schools at the competition.
In the preliminary round, competitors sat at computers in a computer lab where they were given five minutes to warm up and three chances at a two-minute timed test.
In the second round of testing, students competed on stage.
Students from Endeavor Elementary won the team award for the best combined scores of three students.
The benchmark set for students leaving elementary school after sixth grade is 30 words per minute, according to the district’s website.
As early as kindergarten, students are learning about home row keys even as they learn to identify their left and right hands, the letters and numbers. They also learn about proper posture and finger movement.
Students learn to key by touch in third grade and are given time in computer labs and encouraged to take time at home to practice.
Materials to help students practice are posted on schools’ websites.
“We want to focus on celebrating student achievement with keyboarding,” said Handy. “Keyboarding is the most efficient way to input data into a computer. If you’re using a computer as a production tool to produce a report or a paper, your keyboarding skills allow you to efficiently do that and that’s why we teach it. It’s a skill that you will use the rest of your life.”