Reading and writing is a general skill that makes you more efficient in whatever job you have, but in the future programming skills will be needed in many jobs for you to be efficient.
To quickly give students a feeling of success, while learning programming, we should focus on the visual parts that give immediate feedback. The principals of programming can be learned in any programming language. I would always start by teaching students web technologies in an online sandbox like codesandbox.io, because it bypasses the technical setup.
Programming as a social activity
In programming the lonely hero used to be revered for their mastery of this skill, but today programming is a team effort where team communication, management and planning is required. Programming is still a skill where you will fail many times before you succeed, but standard frameworks are making things much easier.
Development teams are often located all over the world today, therefore they use chat and video conferencing tools all the time. Google handout, Skype or Slack are integrated team communications tools today. The only thing to remember is the teams should decide to use one communication platform, because if information is all over the place in mails, Skype groups, Slack channels or Confluence, then it is not helpful at all.
Using OpenSimulator for teaching programming
The virtual world simulator OpenSimulator uses the script language LSL, that can be used to move 3D objects and define actions when the user interacts with the 3D scene. This is a fun way to learn simple programming, because you can program an interactive scene where characters explain something about a given topic. Students could research a topic in local history, like for example who the Vikings lived, and then they can build a 3D interactive Viking village, with characters that tell the story of Vikings everyday life.
Integrating web applications into a virtual world
Students can work in groups and use chat to communicate about their project, so students can work together even if they are not sitting together. This is very helpful because programming is not a skill most teachers master and therefore the teacher will not always be in the same room as the students.