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Computer Science and Reading Literacy

Recently, my school received their results from the high stakes testing in our state. While my school maintained the Excellent rating for the fifth year in a row, my school is not meeting the AYP (Average Yearly Progress) reading requirement with our low socioeconomic status students. My school has now begun a school wide reading literacy program where teachers are asked to promote reading literacy within their subject area. Teachers have been encouraged to promote the reading of subject targeted materials in the classroom.

A close friend of mine is the Vocational Agriculture teacher. He has found a book with an agricultural theme and written in a style that would appeal to his Voc Ag students. His plans are to have the students read a chapter every couple of days and then to discuss it as an addition to his normal curriculum.

I would like to ask for some help from our readership. How do you promote or integrate reading literacy into your Computer Science program? What books, magazines, or online materials do you use and how do you use them in the classroom?

Dave Burkhart
CSTA Board of Directors


I'm sure many will have seen the related post on the AP listserv with the following recommendations. There's something in there for everyone. I give student ceremonial extra credit for writing a short blog comment about a computing-related book and have gotten good results from that: students finding new areas of interest, etc.

Inside the Future: Surviving the Technology Revolution, Henry C. Lucas, Jr.

Blown to Bits: Your Life, Liberty, and Happiness After the Digital Explosion, Hal Abelson, Ken Ledeen, Harry Lewis (This can be downloaded FREE)

Little Brother, Cory Doctorow

Digital Fortress, Dan Brown

Enigma, Robert Harris

Killing Time, Caleb Carr

I, Robot, Isaac Asimov

Prey, Michael Crichton

Rainbows End, Vernor Vinge

G�del, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid; Douglas Hofstadter
Very much a deep heart discussion about computability and AI

The Cuckoo's Egg;Clifford Stoll
Tracking a Spy Through the Maze of Computer Espionage

How To Solve It; George Polya
Problem solving 101...a great book.

The Pragmatic Programmer; Andrew Hunt
A very pivotal book on software development as a craft.

Don't Make Me Think;Steve Krug
A fantastic book on design theory.

The Art of Intrusion: Stories of Hackers, Intruders and Deceivers by Kevin
D. Mitnick and William Simon

Battle of Wits: Complete Story of Codebraking in WWII by Stephen Budiansky

Beyond A.I.: Creating the Conscience of the Machine by J. Storrs Hall

Code Breakers: The Inside Story of Bletchley Park by F. H. Hinsley and
Alan Stripp

Colossus: The Secrets of Bletchley Parks Codebreaking Computers by B. Jack

Contact by Carl Sagan

Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson (very long, over 1000 pages)

The Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson

Enigma: The Battle for the Code by Hugh Sebag-Montefiore

Hacker Diaries: Confessions of Teenage Hackers by Dan Verton

The Puzzle Palace: Inside the NSA by James Banford

Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson

R.U.R. Rossum�s Universal Robots by Karel Capek

The Cyberiad by Stanislaw Lem

Wired for War: The Robotics Revolution and Conflict in the 21st Century by
P.W. Singer

Dark Hero of the Information Age: In Search of Norbert Wiener The Father of Cybernetics
by Flo Conway

The Computer and the Brain: Second Edition
by John VonNeuman

The Annotated Turing: A Guided Tour Through Alan Turing's Historic Paper on Computability and the Turing Machine
by Charles Petzold

High Tech Trash: Digital Devices, Hidden Toxics, and Human Health
by Elizabeth Grossman

The Future of the Internet--And How to Stop It
by Jonathan Zittrain

Ethics for the Information Age (4th Edition)
by Michael J. Quinn

Fantastic Voyage: Live Long Enough to Live Forever
by Terry Grossman

The Age of Spiritual Machines: When Computers Exceed Human Intelligence
by Ray Kurzweil

The Psychology of the Internet
by Patricia M. Wallace

Technology Matters: Questions to Live With
by David E. Nye

The Inner History of Devices
by Sherry Turkle

Life on the Screen: Identity in the Age of the Internet
by Sherry Turkle

The Second Self: Computers and the Human Spirit, Twentieth Anniversary Edition
by Sherry Turkle

Love and Sex with Robots: The Evolution of Human-Robot Relationships
by David N. L. Levy

Things That Make Us Smart: Defending Human Attributes In The Age Of The Machine
by Donald A. Norman

Emotional Design: Why We Love (or Hate) Everyday Things
by Donald A. Norman

The Invisible Computer
by Donald A. Norman

The Mythical Man-Month (Anniversary Edition)
by F. P. Brooks, Jr.

The Psychology of Computer Programming: Silver Anniversary Edition
by Gerald M. Weinberg

Don't Make Me Think, Second Edition
by Steve Krug

Rocket Surgery Made Easy
by Steve Krug

Stuck in the Shallow End: Education, Race, and Computing
by Jane Margolis

Unlocking the Clubhouse: Women in Computing
by Jane Margolis and Allan Fisher

The Deadline: A Novel About Project Management
by Tom DeMarco

Peopleware: Productive Projects and Teams (Second Edition)
by Tom DeMarco and Timothy Lister

The Cuckoo's Egg: Tracking a Spy Through the Maze of Computer Espionage by Cliff Stoll

Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution by Steven Levy

The Soul of a New Machine by Tracy Kidder

The Cartoon Guide to the Computer by Larry Gonick (out of print, but used copies available)

The Victorian Internet: The Remarkable Story of the Telegraph and the Nineteenth Century's On-Line Pioneers

Code: The Hidden Language of Computer Hardware and Software

Being Digital by Nicholas Negroponte

On Intelligence - Jeff Hawkins


Thank you so much for your list. I have only taught high school for two years and have only now begun creating a true computer science program, so I hadn't seen this list in the AP Listserv.

I really appreciate you responding to my request and have already been forwarded four of these books by our librarian.


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