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Teaching programming to novices is a difficult task due to the complex nature of the subject, the negative stereotypes are associated with programming and because introductory programming courses often fail to encourage student understanding. This study investigates the effectiveness of using robots as tools in the teaching of introductory programming and to determine whether such technology can help to overcome the current barriers for learners in this context. The systematic literature review (SLR) methodology is used to address this aim. Nine electronic databases, the proceedings from six conferences and two journals were searched for relevant literature and exclusion criteria, and after performing several validation exercises, in total, 75% of included papers report that robots are an effective teaching tool and can help novice programmers in their studies. Most of these papers focus on the use of physical robots, however, and further research is needed to assess the effectiveness of using simulated robots.