A programming language for children

Mary Rose Cook

Speaker: Mary Rose Cook

A child starts learning to read and write at age 5. Why can’t they start learning to program then, too? I am making Isla, a first programming language for young children. The accompanying environment is called Storytime and lets a child use Isla to write text adventures.

I’ll describe the Isla compiler and how I implemented the lexer, parser and interpreter. I’ll describe the design of the Isla grammar. Why is there no punctuation? Why are expressions like sentences? How did I enable array and object assignments, function calls, conditionals and logical rules in baby talk?