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Super Scratch Programming Adventure (Book) Review

 
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At a Glance...
 

Page Count: 157
 
Genre: ,
 
Year Published:
 
Final Score
 
 
 
 
 
4/ 5


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Accessible to kids and adults alike.


Final Fiendish Findings?

Super Scratch Programming Adventure is a really great introduction to Scratch, and to the world of programming in general. Everything about it is fun, accessible, and easy to use, no matter what age you are. I definitely recommend it to parents for their tech obsessed kids. But it’s also a great resource for adults who would like to dip their toes in the programming pool, but don’t know where to start.

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Posted January 7, 2013 by

 
Full Fiendish Findings...
 
 

If you’ve ever dreamed of programming knowledge for your kids, or even yourself, it’s not too late. Super Scratch Programming Adventure makes writing their first game both easy and fun.

As someone who straddles both sides of the fence in the field of programming, I was really excited to see how Super Scratch Programming Adventure could make programming accessible for kids, while keeping them engaged at the same time. While I don’t have any programming skills myself, my husband is a programmer by trade, so the idea of giving our kids a head start in  programming with handy tech support on standby was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. But I really was quite skeptical that it would hold their attention, especially the 8 year old (8 and up is the suggested age for the book).

Super Scratch Programming Adventure is actually set up in comic book format, which makes it both easy to read and fun to look at – a real plus for kids with a short attention span. There’s even a story included to keep kids interested when the programming talk starts to get a little much. You’ll follow the adventure of Scratch (a cat), Mitch (a computer science student), and the Cosmic Defenders (aliens who help maintain balance in the universe), as they battle the Dark Wizard and his Dark Minions. Each chapter (stage) of the book is prefaced by a comic panel that advancing the tale of these characters, and sets the stage the next step in the programming adventure.

After the comic page, kids are ready to start programming. Each chapter builds on skills from the previous adventures, giving the kids the opportunity to try more complicated things as they advance, without it seeming overwhelming. Beginning with a simple program that teaches how to make characters move, kids move quickly on to creating short games that are actually playable. Even better, the programs don’t take a lot of time to set up, so young learners will get instant gratification for their efforts, a real plus for keeping them motivated.

Super Scratch Programming Adventure teaches kids to use Scratch, a graphical programming language that was developed specifically to give kids the chance to learn programming in an age appropriate forum. Scratch was developed at MIT, and funded by the US NAtional Science Foundation, and everything about it is designed to make it simple to use and easy to understand, even for younger kids. Rather than having to write out commands, kids simply drag and drop boxes to create a series of commands. It’s not only easy to learn, it’s easy to test and play around with, so they’ll soon be monkeying around with different commands to get everything just right. And best of all, Scratch is free, and works on Mac, Linux, and PC, even older ones.

What the book does, is take an accessible language like Scratch, and put it on a level kids can really understand, even if they have no previous knowledge of programming at all. Each chapter very specifically tells them how to write the program, and even shows illustrations so they can see exactly how each section should look. They are given the tools to learn, and then encouraged to play around with it once they get it all figured out.

Super Scratch Programming Adventure is a really great introduction to Scratch, and to the world of programming in general. Everything about it is fun, accessible, and easy to use, no matter what age you are. I definitely recommend it to parents for their tech obsessed kids. But it’s also a great resource for adults who would like to dip their toes in the programming pool, but don’t know where to start.


Amy

 
U.S. Senior Editor & Deputy EIC, @averyzoe on Twitter, mother of 5, gamer, reader, wife to @macanthony, and all-around bad-ass (no, not really)