By Author / Illustrator
Usborne Publishing Ltd
An introduction to coding for complete beginners, this friendly and accessible book will teach children the basics of Scratch (a free, online programme developed by MIT which is widely used in primary schools), allowing them to get inside the code of their computer and create simple games and animations on screen.
Computing and coding are two of the biggest buzzwords in education in recent times, particularly at primary level. Initiatives like the Hour of Code and programs like Scratch offer a simple yet informative and entertaining entry into the world of coding. The book offers a guide to 15 different Scratch activities, starting from the most basic of tasks to activities of increasing complexity. Steps are explained simply and in plain language and blocks of coding are illustrated on each page as an easy to follow guide. Simpler activities are explained in a double page spread. As the activities become more complex, activities are explained over six pages and can sometimes be difficult to follow. Activities can be matched to different targets within the Computing curriculum (but not identified as such in the book - you'll have to do that yourself). All instructions are related to the online version of Scratch; if you have the downloaded version, some of the instructions may have to be adapted. In addition, the book has a guide to saving and sharing on Scratch, an extensive menu listing and explaining every instruction available on the program, and a useful glossary. There is also a link to a website which offers additional support for the activities in the book and a range of other coding resources. Illustrations are simple and of limited appeal to what would appear to be the target audience. However, the ring-bound format is very useful when using the book for reference purposes. Activities and outcomes are enjoyable and satisfying, and lessons learned can be applied to the reader's own projects. This book would be of use to KS2 children, parents who would like to support their children and teachers unfamiliar with Scratch. Some activities could even be used as the basis for lesson plans. 92 pages / Ages 7+ / Reviewed by Paul Gormley, teacher.
Suggested Reading Age 7+