Best first language to teach a teen.

Of course my vote goes to Pascal but I'm considering Basic. The kid in question is my grandson, 13 years old. His parents, aunts and uncles all went to college and majored in basket weaving (i.e., english lit, archeology and art) with the result that they all have low paying jobs. I'm trying to steer him away from that. I want to get him interested in science, engineering or business. Programming seems a good start.

So what's a good textbook for Pascal for a kid that age? [italic]Oh! Pascal![/italic] How much DOS do I need to teach him? Should I teach him Basic instead?

Does anyone have any experience or advise of any sort on teaching programming to a kid?


  • Does he want to learn? He needs to be patient and have the desire. Personally, I always loved taking things apart when I was young, so no different with my C-64. Back in those days you could look at alot of the code for the programs. It used basic, although I have followed Pascal.

    Either choice I think would be good. Both are reasonably simple to understand. With the direction things are going today, maybe something like Visual Basic might be good?

    I love Pascal, so I'm not trying to steer away, but DOS is becoming more and more non-existant. In the end is has to be something that he's going to enjoy. I always thought I'd end up as a computer programmer, but now I'm a mechanic, even though in high school I never knew the first thing about a car or ever took mechanics class. Now programming is my hobby ;)

    My suggestion would be to ask him what he likes to do and go from there.

    Phat Nat
  • I'd say Pascal, it's simple compared to other programming languages, so therefore it's easy to learn. It also helps him get used to the basic syntax that all programming languages use.

  • I'm wondering if a better choice might be Java or Python. I've gotten hold of a Java textbook that is used in an introductory course in programming at a local university and by the end of the first semester the student is writing programs for images and video. That would be pretty hard to do in Pascal. Python is another possibility. I understand that Python too gets into imaging and video pretty early. Plus Python came pre-installed on the computer he uses. It's the sort of stuff he loves (iMovie and MovieMaker).

    The down side to both is that I'd have to learn them, which I could do of course, but I don't know how well I could teach it at the same time.

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