Bill Gates

"I really had a lot of dreams when I was a kid, and I think a great deal of that grew out of the fact that I had a chance to read a lot." - Bill Gates, Billionaire Philanthropist

Pre-Reading Questions

  1. Do you like using computers?
  2. Do you know when Bill Gates first started his company, Microsoft?
  3. What is the difference between computer “hardware” and computer “software”?

Vocabulary Preview

  • co-founder: a person who starts a business with someone else
  • software: computer programs
  • communicate: share, exchange information, talk, write
  • success: opposite of failure
  • supply: give, provide
  • operating system: method of making something work
  • browse: read, look through
  • charity: organization that gives money to help certain groups, such as poor people, sick people, children
  • active: busy, involved in many things
  • scholarship: payment of money to help someone study
  • minority: small group of a community that is different from the larger group
  • global: relating to the whole world

Practice these new vocabulary words here: Bill Gates

Bill Gates

  1. Bill Gates is the co-founder of the computer-software company called Microsoft. His company has changed how millions of people in the world communicate and how they do business.
  2. Gates was born in Seattle, Washington, on October 28, 1955. His father was a lawyer and his mother was very active in the community. Gates attended public school until he was 12. He then went to a private school. It was here that he met and became friends with Paul Allen, his Microsoft co-founder. Gates was very good at math and at 13 he began to work with computers. He and Allen often worked together on computer projects and had their own small company in high school.
  3. In 1973, Gates went to Harvard University. Steve Ballmer lived in the same building and they became friends. Ballmer later became the president of Microsoft.
  4. In 1974, the MITS company asked Gates and Allen to write the programming language for its Altair 8800, the first microcomputer. It was a success and MITS gave them more work. In 1975, Gates and Allen moved to New Mexico and started Microsoft. The first few years were hard.
  5. In 1979, they moved their company to Seattle. In 1980, the IBM company developed a computer for people to use at home. Microsoft supplied the operating system for it. Gates and Allen made enough money from this to stay in business.
  6. Microsoft is still developing and building software for both personal and business computers. In 1995, it brought out the Internet Explorer browser. People all over the world use it to go onto the Internet.
  7. Microsoft has been so successful that Bill Gates is one of the richest people in the world. He and his wife, Melinda, give billions of dollars to charity every year. They have set up a scholarship program to help minority students go to university. They have also given large amounts of money to global health groups, libraries, and community projects.
  8. Gates, his wife, and their three children live near Seattle. Their 40,000-square-foot house is famous for its use of technology.

Post Reading Questions

  1. Who were the co-founders of Microsoft?
  2. What did they do when they were in high school?
  3. What kind of work did they do in 1974?
  4. What did they do for the IBM Company in 1980?
  5. What does Microsoft do?
  6. In what way does Bill Gates contribute to society?
  7. When did Bill Gates first start working with computers?
  8. What is special about Bill Gates’ house. (Name two things.)
  9. How have computers changed our lives in the last number of years?
  10. Do you think these changes are all good or do you think some of them are bad?
  11. Would you like to open your own business? If so, what kind of business would you like to open? What are the advantages and disadvantages of having your own business?
  12. If you had a lot of money to give to charities, which charities would you choose?

Additional Resources