Update: There is a new version of this book, Super Scratch Programming Adventure!, to go with the updated version of Scratch.
We downloaded Scratch for free a couple of weeks ago to let kids have something fun and easy to start learning programming. Scratch is a beginner computer programming software that has a drag and drop interface, and gives fast results without any prior knowledge. Oldest 3 kids played around with it for a while designing their own games (usually involving Scratchy the cat saying naughty words!)
The description from the Scratch website is: “Scratch is a programming language learning environment enabling beginners to get results without having to learn syntactically correct writing first. Created by the MIT Media Lab, it is intended to motivate for further learning through playfully experimenting and creating projects, such as interactive animations, games, etc.”
I ordered Super Scratch Programming Adventure!: Learn to Program By Making Cool Games from Amazon, based on its fantastic reviews, to add an element of structure to their learning. I gave it to IrishWrath and IrishCyborg and let them loose!
IrishWrath, with his companion Titan.
IrishWrath, age 13, is not really into programming, but I think it’s important to have a basic understanding of code so I’ve put coding as one of his subjects this term. This is his first review of the book.
“It’s a comic, enough said.”
I asked him to expand on the review, and this is the ‘long’ version.
“This book is a guide to beginner programming using Scratch. Scratch has a simple interface to ease wannabe programmers into the world of cyber space coding. Although Scratch is easy to use you can make complex programs with it. This book uses a step by step approach guiding you through the tools required to make games, with the added bonus of being in comic format which just feels more fun to read!”
“I like Scratch and used it without a book for a while. I wanted to learn game programming, but I didn’t know how. I asked mum to get a book. She picked a great one. First you read a comic, then there is a step by step guide on how to program the chapter’s game, like The Final Fight and Hack Attack. It’s very simple and fun to read and use.”
The book started to lose pages after about 2 hours of handling. We read/use hundreds of books every year and very few fall apart, so I think the binding is poor on this. There is an eBook option to consider.
Despite the poor binding on our copy, we really like this book. Its bright, easy to read, and would be suitable from about age 8 or 9. IrishWrath is not into computers, and needed something simple but engaging to keep him interested, this book accomplished this. IrishCyborg has a lot more interest in coding and this book is keeping him engaged too. First go with the book both boys are pleased with their results.
We plan to use Scratch Programming for Teens when we finish this book. (Update: We didn’t like this book It has about as much info as Super Scratch Programming Adventure, but present in an overly wordy, drawn out way. Skip it if you use the above book.)
IrishCyborg has read Lauren Ipsum, and loves it. It is a children’s story introducing computer science language, and ideas in an Alice In Wonderland style story. Listen to the author, Carlos Bueno a Software Engineer at Facebook, here.
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