Word Processing Topic Guide

A word processor is a program or app that can be used to create text. When word processing began to take over from typewriters, they were special machines just used for writing. Today you can use a word processor on a computer, tablet or even on a phone!

Text is usually input into a word processor using a keyboard, and there are features to help you with your writing, such as spell checkers. You can also change how your writing looks easily, by using different fonts and colours, or quickly changing the layout.

Teach your children about word processing using our handy topic guide!

Choose a section:
Teaching Ideas | Resources | Facts | Videos | Links

Teaching Ideas

  • Introduce different fonts and colours to younger children with this simple idea.
  • Use a collaborative word processor, such as Google Docs, to allow children to work together on texts.
  • This idea for writing a shared story is very useful for encouraging children to read carefully what others have written so that the story makes sense.
  • Give children an incorrectly formatted piece of writing with wrong spellings and grammatical errors, to revise. This can be done with spell check and grammar checks on or off, depending on your objectives.
  • Dictate a paragraph and ask children to type it as you speak. Then ask them to correct it. What errors did they make? Which errors were the most common?
  • When children have completed a longer piece of writing, ask them to type it up and add illustrations.


Word Processing Facts

  • The keyboard used in most English speaking countries is called QWERTY, after the first six letters on the left of the keyboard. It was invented by an American named Christopher Latham Sholes and was first used on a typewriter in 1874.
  • QWERTY was invented to slow typing down. On a typewriter, if you type too fast the mechanical parts of the keyboard would jam together. QWERTY was designed so that the chances of the keys getting stuck were minimised.
  • There are many different keyboard layouts for different languages and uses. French speakers use an AZERTY keyboard, with accented letters, such as é, on the very top row.
  • In the city of Yekaterinburg, Russia, there is a keyboard monument, which you can walk on!
  • The QWERTY keyboards used in the USA and the UK are almost the same, but a few symbols are in different places. for example, you will often find that the @ and ” keys are the opposite way round, if you switch from one to the other.


Learning about Microsoft Word

This video tutorial is the first of a series on using Microsoft Word, and covers creating a table.

Running time: 6:28

Word Processors

This 1980s cartoon is a great primary source for looking at the history of word processing and how it has changed.

Running time: 0:59

Google Docs for Kids

This video is one of a series about using Google Docs and deals with inserting and formatting images.

Running time: 8:33

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