Programming With

BASIC256 Home Page

BASIC-256 Home Page

A book to teach ANYBODY how to program a computer.

The original vision for this book was to create a hands-on introduction of computer programming for Middle School and High School students. It has been written without much of the jargon and complexity of many programming books and will be suitable for anybody 10+ who wants to learn to program and is ready to experiment.

Programming a computer is considered by many to be a task that is beyond a typical middle grades learner. I personally know this is not so because, I learned to program my TRS-80 home computer during those years of my life. Programming was different: simpler in that we didn't need to worry about hard disks, color, or graphics; and harder for the same reasons.

This book attempts to engage through programming media (sound, color, shapes, and text to speech) and then working in the typical concepts of programming (loops, conditions, variables...) to make animations, games, and fun applications. Full source code to example programs are given so that experimentation can really hone the skills learned.

The Second Edition has been updated through version of BASIC-256 and includes functions, subroutines, printing, and many other new features.

James M. Reneau Ph.D.-

Tuesday, October 13, 2015, 09:51

Persian Translation of the First Edition

The first edition has been translated into Persian by Shahin Esmaeel Doost in Iran. The Entire PDF is available for download on the translations page.

It so warms my heart to see this book being downloaded and translated into other languages. It is the reason I became a teacher and started this project in the first place.

- Dr. Jim

Wednesday, July 02, 2014, 19:47

Spanish Translation of the Second Edition

The second edition has been translated into Spanish by my friend Osvaldo in Argentina. The Entire PDF is available for download on the translations page.

- Dr. Jim

Monday, January 13, 2014, 10:44

Second Edition is Here!!!!

The second edition of So You Want to Be a Programmer? is finally here. It includes all language changes through and adds coverage of functions, subroutines, and try/catch error trapping. This is a significant revision and I strongly recommend using it.

All of the examples have also been tested and revised to use functions and subroutines. Try to break yourself of the nasty GOTO.

- Dr. Jim

Friday, June 01, 2012, 14:06

French Translation - Complete and Available

I just received the French translation from Laurent Denis and Frank Rutte. They have put countless hours into this traslation and we need to thank them.

You can download the PDF here or on the download link on the left hand side of the screen. At the present time there is no plan to offer a printed copy.

Monday, May 28, 2012, 07:04

Russian Translation - Complete and Available

The russian translation has been completed for some time and is available both on-line and in print at Sergey Irupin has worked very hard on this and we need to thank him for all of his hard work.


New Flash Tutorials

Saturday, March 12, 2011, 21:00

New Flash Tutorials

I have just created three new Flash based tutorials for Chapter One. You can access them from the main menu. More are being developed.

Friday, November 19, 2010, 06:32

Russian Translation

The first two chapters of a Russian translation can be found at More is coming. Special thanks to Sergey Lupin for all of his work and encouragement.


Book Finally Released for Sale

Thursday, November 18, 2010, 14:23

Book Finally Released for Sale

After going through a couple of proofs and many minor cosmetic changes the first printed edition is available from CreateSpace (an Amazon Comppany) at It should also be available through local book retailers and Amazon in 4 to 6 weeks (January 2011).
Jim Reneau

Saturday, November 13, 2010, 11:35

New version of book available.

Updated the book formatting and added new features (through after reviewing proof from Createspace. Hope to have the final proof approved in the next week.


New Web Forum

Thursday, November 11, 2010, 16:36

New Web Forum

Moved the page comment function to a new Web forum at The forum will be a place to make suggestions about the book, reviews, post questions, answer questions, and develop a web community of people who have used the book.

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Creative Commons License
So You Want to Learn to Program? by James M. Reneau is licensed under a
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