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Learning the Home Row

Updated on November 5, 2012

Where is Home Row?

Mastering keyboarding skills is vital in today’s computer age. Even elementary school curriculum requires some computer skills; most jobs mandate it. Nick Mead of Softonic says, “Touch typing is one of the most useful skills you can acquire behind a keyboard. If you write regularly, then it's virtually essential.”

Keyboards and computers are a part of modern life, from the classroom to the boardroom, the factory to the gas station. In school, most students must type their essays and coursework. As a computer teacher to grades K-6, I found most children were very comfortable with the keyboard. By kindergarten, they can be taught to navigate the computer correctly and start learning the correct placement of fingers, even though their hands are small. Touch typing can be started as early as age seven, or 2nd grade.

Whether teaching a child or learning yourself, your computing skills will be much quicker if you know how to type correctly. The basics start out with learning where the home row is located.

There are four rows of keys on the keyboard with numbers and symbols at the top, then three rows of letters with punctuation keys on the right-hand side. The HOME ROW is in the middle row of the letter keys. It is called home row because in touch keyboarding, you always start from these keys and always return to them. Resting your fingers on the home row keeps them ready for quickly typing the letters around them. Your left hand is responsible for all the keys on the left side of the keyboard while the right hand works on the right side.

Home Row Keys
Home Row Keys

Finger Placement

Find the F and J keys. These keys should have a raised line or small dot on these keys to aide in finding these keys without looking. Curve your fingers a little and put your left hand fingers lightly on A, S, D, F, with your little finger on the A key. Your right hand fingers go on J, K, L, ; with your right index finger on the J key. Let your fingers rest on the center of each key. Your thumbs should rest on the space bar.

Practice Letters

Practice typing each letter once, left hand first, then right hand. A quick stroke is needed; if the key is held down too long, it will repeat itself. Try not to look at the keys; look only on the monitor. Tap the pinkie, ring finger, middle finger, then index finger of the left hand and then the right hand. If the hands are in the resting position on the home row, you have just typed most of the home row. Do this a few times until you are familiar with the touch and how firm each key must be pressed. Continue typing asdfjkl; until you have a full row.

Then type a row of each letter twice – then three and four times. Say the letter out loud if it helps to remember which finger commands the key.

Add G and H

There are two letters on the home row that haven’t been touched yet – the G and the H. The index finger of each hand will do extra duty on typing these keys plus their assigned home key.

Practice a row typing FG with the left index finger, then HJ with the right index finger.

Now add the whole home row - asdfghjkl;

Add a Space

Next, add a space between each letter by tapping the space bar with your thumb in between-- a s d f g h j k l ; Practice by typing a whole row.

Use a Color-Coded Keyboard for Finger Placement

Home Row Keys Circled
Home Row Keys Circled

Games for Home Row Letters

Home Row Bingo

Students can learn by typing the letter as the teacher says it slow at first, then increasing speed. The teacher can then call out home row words, letting the student type as she speaks.

Home Row Wordsearch

Make a word search game – allow the students time to locate as many words made only of home row letters. *(There can be as many as 63 words, counting names, plurals, one city and one state)

By keeping your fingers on the home row where they can reach all the other keys, you will learn to type quickly without looking. Memorize the keys and the finger placement. Speed will build when you know where the keys are. In today’s world, time is money, and the more quickly you type, the quicker the more time efficient you become.

Partial List of Home Row Words

dad, sad, gal, had, has, all, gas, lads, fad, glad, lag. gag, glass, salad, half, shall, fall, Dallas, Alaska

Happy Typing!


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