Monday, July 16, 2018

A Review of Code For Teens: The Awesome Beginner's Guide to Programming (Volume 1) from Code for Teens

In today's computer oriented world, I believe that it is important for kids to learn more than just the basics like typing.  I think it is important for them to know some of the background, why, and how to of coding so that they can learn why computer programs do what they do.  This is why I was excited to receive a copy of Code For Teens: The Awesome Beginner's Guide to Programming (Volume 1) from Code for Teens for Buddy to review.  I was hoping that this book would be a good start to get him interested in and learning about computer programming and coding.
Code for Teens, A Glimpse of Normal
Programming and coding are subjects that every teen will deal with if they use a computer, play a video game, or visit a website.  This is why Jeremy Moritz wrote Code For Teens: The Awesome Beginner's Guide to Programming (Volume 1).  He decided that if teens were going to deal with all this technology, they should be able to learn why technology does what it does.  Since he helps homeschool his children and couldn't find coding material that would teach this skill at a pace that teens can understand and use, he created his own book that would do just that.  He believes that having teens learn code opens a world of possibilities for them especially when programming jobs are in high demand.  I agree with him.
Code For Teens: The Awesome Beginner's Guide to Programming (Volume 1) is designed for teens to teach themselves how to code without a parent or teacher's help.  The book moves at their pace and every chapter includes plenty of drills to work on, review sections, and a chapter quiz.  Teens can complete as many drills as they need to to understand the material and they can easily repeat the drills to get extra practice if they feel unsure of the code they have learned.  The concepts in the book do build on each other so it is necessary for your teen to understand the material and be able to get the coding to work right before they move on to the next chapter.  The book includes 10 chapters for students to learn from, a message for parent on how students are to use this book, a glossary, and an answer key for students to check their work with.  The chapter titles are:
  • Chapter 1: Hello World!
  • Chapter 2: Time to Operate
  • Chapter 3: Comment on the String Section
  • Chapter 4: Have Some Functions
  • Chapter 5: Shall I Compare?
  • Chapter 6: Logically Operational
  • Chapter 7: Projects Galore
  • Chapter 8: Hip Hip Array!
  • Chapter 9: Loop a Round
  • Chapter 10: Make a Hangman Game
Students can work through this book on a computer or tablet.  They just need to use Google Chrome as their browser.  
Buddy wasn't too sure of this book at first.  He has tried a little bit of coding before, but he didn't enjoy it because the directions were complicated and many times he got lost in the middle of them and it just didn't work for him.  So he was hesitant about this book.  I had already read the introduction and note for parents before handing it to him so I knew that this book was designed to walk him step by step through everything.  Buddy started reading and decided that this coding was something he could do.  That was a good thing because he didn't get too far into Chapter 1 before he got down to work.  The chapters are laid out so that you alternate between reading and applying/trying what you read until you get to the Chapter Quiz.  Then he answered the quiz.  After that there was a review the key concepts from the chapter, then there were final drills for him to complete to get more practice, and last there was a DIY project that he had to complete on his own that was based on the drills.  The chapters have bold print glossary terms and do a great job of defining them so that he could actually learn coding lingo.  Buddy worked through Chapter 1 in a few days time.  I wanted him to go slow and really take his time so that he understood what he was doing and not just rush through it.  He said that the book made it easy to understand what he was putting into the console and why he should put in what he had to type in.  He must have understood it well because he passed his quiz with flying colors.  The DIY project for chapter 1 was coding the average age of his family and Buddy did well at this.  He had to look back through parts of the chapter, but he eventually got it.  Our average family age is 25.75.  It was pretty cool that he understood what he was doing and was able to make the coding work.  
Buddy hasn't minded working his way through this book.  He says it is explained well so he doesn't get lost in the coding.  He has worked through chapter 2 and will finish chapter 3 soon.  Chapter 3 is taking longer because it involves coding his biography.  Not only does he have to think about what he wants it to say, he also has to think about how to say it in programming language.  He hasn't minded learning JavaScript and says it is interesting.  After seeing what Buddy can do in just a few short weeks, I am excited for him to finish working his way through this book to see how much more he learns and how far he can go with this programming.  I think it is a valuable skill for him to learn in today's technological age and even though he isn't crazy about computers, this coding knowledge will help him.  I read ahead and saw that the next of volume of Code for Teens books will be about HTML and CSS which can help him learn to make a website.  I am very interested in having him work through that book in the future too.  Learning programming and coding skills can never hurt and then he can help me with my blog coding.  
I really like the layout of this book and how it breaks coding speak down in to step by step instructions that are easy to understand.  I like that this book is written to be fun and entertaining and it doesn't bore my son while he his working.  I think it does a great job of simplifying technical jargon so that anyone picking up this book can understand the language.  I definitely want Buddy to finish working his way through this book and I am definitely interested in other volumes in the series.  The only suggestion I have for Code for Teens is to make the book spiral bound.  This would help the book stay open to where students are working.  This was Buddy's only complaint is that he would be working and his book would flip closed.
Code for Teens
We definitely Code For Teens: The Awesome Beginner's Guide to Programming (Volume 1) for learning JavaScript.  You can learn more about the book on the Code for Teens website and read the first chapter of the book there too.  You can also find them on Facebook.  Click the banner below to read the reviews of this book from my friends on the Homeschool Review Crew and see how they used it with their students.
Code For Teens: The Awesome Beginner's Guide to Programming {Code for Teens Reviews}

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