Type to Learn: 12 ESL Typing Practice Resources and Games
Do you know the difference between something “basic” and something “easy”?
When something is easy, it can be done without much effort.
Something basic, on the other hand, comes from the term “base.” A base is the bottom of something. It is that part of an object which supports everything else.
It is the foundation and the starting point of anything.
We commonly believe that basic things are also easy.
But nothing could be farther from the truth. Basic things require practice. They require intentional hard work and focus. And, if we do not master the basics, then we are also unable to master the skill.
Typing is one of the most basic skills we need in our age. It does not matter if you are working in an office, or just chatting with your friends, we usually type words to communicate.
But no one thinks about practicing their typing skills regularly.
This is both strange and scary. A slow typing speed can affect your education, your work and your whole life. You can waste massive amounts of time if you type slowly.
Apart from English writing, reading and speaking skills, all learners should also focus on their typing abilities. In this guide, we list the most useful, immersive ESL typing practice tools and even some super fun ESL typing games.
Easy Typing Lessons to Get You Started
Typing Tutorial Basics
Did you recently buy a computer and find it extremely difficult to type at a decent rate? Or have you been using keyboards for years now, but simply need a few simple tricks to make your typing more efficient?
This YouTube lesson provides a short introduction to the techniques of professional typists. The video mainly tells you how to place your fingers on the keyboard in such a way that you can quickly find any key without even looking at the keyboard.
The tutor presenting the lesson took typing courses at a very young age and he gives practical tips for beginners while he explains the basic concepts. He also provides a link to a finger-typing chart in the description of the video.
This video uses informal American English, the kind that native speakers generally use when they are conversing with friends. This gives the video a very casual and warm feeling and makes it useful in speaking and listening practice sessions, too.
How to Type
This video is a more formal version of the last lesson. The production quality is better, the voice is clear and crisp and the narrator uses a more formal tone.
The video lesson is broken down into steps, making it extremely easy to follow. It also presents interesting facts about the topic, along with useful tips for learners.
This lesson is also just two minutes long, making it perfect for those people who simply want the facts and have less time. It also gives more visual cues which help you understand the content of the lesson even if you do not exactly get the meaning of the words.
Okay, so maybe FluentU is not specifically a typing resource. But no English education is complete without a FluentU account! Why?
FluentU takes authentic videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.
12 Fun ESL Typing Practice Resources and Games
Amazing Websites to Practice English Typing
Touch-typing is the method of typing which does not require you to use your sight to find the right keys. As the name suggests, it includes using the sense of touch (and your memory) to quickly press the required key.
This website is a program which aims to teach you touch-typing. It includes practical lessons and asks you to complete certain tasks with your keyboard.
Unlike many other websites and software, it does not make you do the same things over and over again. Instead, it uses an algorithm (a set of rules used by a computer to do something) to create new tasks for you every time you use it based on your previous experience.
Although the website itself is extremely helpful, it contains no audio. A learner must have good English reading skills to use this site to its fullest extent.
It also features a typing test to measure your current typing skills.
This typing website is a course which can be used in the classroom as well as for individual learning. It contains a well-structured syllabus, divided according to the learning levels and grades.
The site has separate sections for teachers and students. The teacher portal allows teachers to see, track and grade the progress of each student. If you are part of a class or have your own tutor, ask your teacher about using this website to learn and you may be able to get free access.
The typing lessons have three learning levels—beginner, intermediate and advanced, along with a separate section for practice. The lessons start with the most basic things like pressing a particular combination of keys and go into advanced topics like jokes, numbers and symbols. These lessons can, of course, be used for reading practice as well.
Apart from the tutorials, you can also find typing games on this website, which make it fun to practice regularly.
3. Good Typing
The Good Typing website is another course which promises to teach you typing in just a few hours. It has a free typing test which anyone can take without registering with the website.
This site features 27 lessons which teach you how to type using simple steps. These lessons are modified (changed) according to the keyboard layout (the position of keys) of your device. Since different countries often have different layouts, this site offers 23 different options.
It also includes courses in many different languages like Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, German and French. In case you are new to typing, it is a good idea to first learn to type in your own language and then use the basic techniques in English typing.
4. 10 Fast Fingers
The 10 Fast Fingers program adds the excitement of competition into the learning process. Along with a general typing test, it also has something called the “multiplayer typing test.” In this format, many people take a typing test together and try to be faster than all the other players.
Similarly, there is a typing competition where you try to be the fastest player of all time. There are dozens of different competitions at any point and you can join any one of them. It also supports multiple languages.
You can customize your typing practice by copying and pasting your own text and using it for the typing test. This can also be a great way to learn something for an exam or a course or to practice typing and reading at the same time.
Lastly, this website has a top-1,000 typing mode which uses the most frequently used words in the English language for typing practice. This is ideal for those learners who do not have time for practicing different skills. This mode allows you to build vocabulary, reading and typing skills all at once.
5. Kidz Type
Are you a big fan of colorful and simple games like “Candy Crush”? Perhaps you like your practice sessions better when you actually have fun. Or you might just want a break from dull lessons and black-and-white screens.
KidzType is a typing practice website for children and beginners. All the exercises in it are in the form of a game. The exercises are divided into four levels, each dealing with a very specific aspect of typing such as specific letters and symbols.
The lessons can seem very repetitive but they are great for building a strong foundation for your typing skills. Unlike most of the sites we’ve already mentioned, these exercises do not have complete sentences or words. They simply focus on pressing the right the keys. This means that this site is not very great at improving your vocabulary, comprehension or reading abilities, but it’s great for really learning how to use your keyboard.
KidzType is made for those people who simply want a straightforward collection of typing exercises.
7 ESL Typing Games for English Learners of Any Level
Making food, killing ghosts, writing newspapers and even saving your spaceship—these practice games make typing feel like a true adventure.
Since typing practice needs to be repetitive, games provide a great way to keep yourself engaged. These ESL typing games are often time-based and require you to be alert throughout the session. This helps you concentrate on your actions and memorize the most efficient way to use a keyboard.
Games are meant to be addictive by design, and this makes learners look forward to the practice sessions rather than avoid them. Here we list the best typing games you can find anywhere on the internet.
The following ESL typing games are at an easy level and are geared for absolute beginners:
If you love puzzle games and ocean adventures, then “Keyman” will be a blast for you. There are no instructions but it is quite easy to understand.
The aim is to collect all the keys, treasure chests and coins in the maze (a puzzle where they goal is to find your way from one part to another). There are three levels in this game and the difficulty increases as the players go from one level to the next.
In the first level, you will notice many letters in circles with arrows. When you press the right key, the circle moves, allowing the player to go in another direction. In the second level, similar red circles also appear. Unless you press the letters indicated in these circles, they act as barriers (something which prevents movement) for the player. It also introduces a kind of fish which hurts you if you come too close to it. The third level has more of these dangerous fish.
In terms of typing practice, this game is only recommended for the absolute beginners. The player is not required to type out any sequence of letters or words. You just have to press single keys at a time.
This means that your actions on the keyboard do not come very close to natural typing. But if you are not familiar with a keyboard at all, then this game might help you remember the location of the basic keys.
7. “Dance Mat Typing”
“Dance Mat Typing” is a game by the BBC, one of the world’s most famous media organizations. Their game is designed to teach English learners the art of touch-typing.
The game is divided into four levels, according to the rows of keys used in each stage of the game. So in level one, you mainly use the home keys, which are f, d, s, a, j, k, l, ;, g and h. The next levels deal with keys above or below this row.
Each level begins with a brief introduction video. A cartoon character greets you and tells you what you need to do. This part of the game features both audio and text so you can understand what is being said easily. The tone is informal and some may find the accent a little difficult to understand. But since you can read what they are saying, it is not a big problem.
This game is a mixture of two tasks: You either press some random keys repetitively or you type out actual words on the screen. The vocabulary in this game is easy and any learner with a basic understanding of English can play it.
However, since the audio instructions are not very clear, it is recommended that you develop your basic reading skills before playing this game.
Are these games too simple for you? Then maybe it is time to move on to the intermediate level of typing practice with the next game.
8. “Typing Chef”
“Typing Chef” combines the joy of cooking with the thrill of typing. It includes various levels and you are required to type actual English words within a time limit.
Each new level becomes more challenging either by increasing the speed or introducing longer words or two-word phrases. New levels also use new backgrounds such as a cutting board or pots and pans. As you can guess, everything is related to cooking and you can gain a lot of information about this topic.
Apart from the challenging game design and the fun visuals, this game also has an impressive list of culinary (related to cooking) vocabulary. From simple words like pots and pans to complex ones like asparagus, a learner will encounter many new words in this game.
But the speed of the game does not allow the reader to pause and search for the meaning of the words. And since your hands are always on the keyboard, you can not really write down the words you see on the screen. The best thing to do is pause after each level and try to remember as many words as you can. Search for their meaning and note them down on a piece of paper before moving on to the next level.
Or you can also record the screen of your computer through a camera or a recording application. This will also allow you to focus on the game and worry about the vocabulary later.
9. “The Typing of the Ghosts”
If you are in the mood for something spooky, then you should play “The Typing of the Ghosts.” In this game, several words show up on the screen attached to ghosts. In the beginning, they are small but they keep getting bigger as time passes.
You can kill a ghost by typing out the word attached to it. You are allowed a certain amount of mistakes after which the game ends.
Apart from English words, you will also find random letters and numbers. But usually, there are more words than these keys. The vocabulary is not related to the topic, which is too bad: The game designers lost a major opportunity because they could have used the context of ghosts and horror to help learners memorize related words.
This game is also more challenging because there are several words on the screen at once. You need to decide which word you want to write first and then actually type that word in time.
The experience of playing the game is really fun and once you start the game you might find it really hard to stop.
10. “Ztype Space Typing and Spelling”
Do you love going through space photographs released by NASA? Or are you a passionate fan of space movies and shooting games?
If you answered yes to any one of these questions then “Ztype” is for you. In this game, you are the captain of a spaceship and you need to protect it by shooting at different objects.
You do this by typing out the name of that object and destroying it. Similar to the previous game, many words appear on your screen at once and you have to decide which word to type first.
The graphics of this game are on par with many famous mobile games and the sound effects make you feel like you are just playing another action game.
Apart from the standard game, you can also play with your own text. You can use free online stories and poems and paste them on the screen. The game always displays the work according to the sequence in the text. This means that you can practice reading and typing at once, in a space game!
The game also records your scores and helps you keep track of your performance. If you use this game regularly, you can get a good idea of how much progress you’re actually making.
And finally, here are a few games for advanced typing practice.
11. “The Coop Times”
This is one of the best ESL typing games I have ever played and, surprisingly, it is available online for free.
In “The Coop Times,” you play as a journalist who has to write an article by a given deadline. Before starting the game, you are given some information about the topic and you have to quickly write five lines about it. After you have written those lines within the deadline, you write a headline and submit it to the editors.
The game is funny, and the editors send you a review which is both harsh and comical.
This game is suitable for only those advanced learners who have a good understanding of English writing but need some practice with writing fast and typing on a keyboard. This game is useful for learners who can already create English sentences about a topic on their own. It also does not allow you to correct your mistakes, so it makes learners pay more attention to what they are typing.
In case you struggle with completing your assignments on time or you think you make too many mistakes while writing, then you can use this game to train yourself better.
12. “Epistory – Typing Chronicles”
“Epistory” is a Role Playing Game (RPG) which means that you play as the main character in a story. This makes the game the most advanced one on our list since you need to complete an actual story to move forward.
You use the keyboard to move the characters in the game, fight and destroy things and explore the beautiful world of Epistory. “Epistory” tells the story of a girl on a fox as they move through a world made of folded paper. The music, art style and story make you forget that you are actually practicing a skill.
Like the other games, you type out words to destroy things. In some parts, you also need to type special words to switch between your powers and to interact with things in your surroundings. Many of the words are random, and they vary in length. Some words, though, are related to elements, so you get to see many different words for or dealing with fire, water and more.
This game provides a great opportunity to practice and speed up your typing skills but it is also a good way to learn new words. And have I mentioned that it’s beautiful?
Typing exercises are often boring and are seen as unnecessary. Hopefully, these ESL typing practice lessons, sites and games will help you realize how fun and addictive typing practice can actually be and how important it is to actually improve your typing skills in English.