Children’s literature is a strong method to teach money matters

A variety of children’s books provide learning lessons around topics of money, saving, giving and spending.

Financial education can begin at a young age with children. There are many strategies to encourage saving behaviors in youth as outlined in the article ways to teach children the value of saving money. One common way to talk about money with children that Michigan State University Extension encourages you to try is through books. Children enjoy being read to at almost any age. You can use this opportunity to engage children in learning about and then talking about money, saving, giving and wise spending behaviors.

The Reading Makes Cents 4-H Curriculum contains 53 hands-on learning activities around children’s literature where money is the primary theme. The curriculum includes activities and strategies to expand the learning lesson in the story. It is a great choice for parents, teachers or other youth professionals who work with children to open discussion around money.

A few books to get you started with your children or the children you work with are:

Berenstain Bear’s Trouble with Money by Stan and Jan Berenstain

  • There is a two-part video on YouTube that shares a similar story to the Trouble with Money book for Brother and Sister Bear

Alexander, Who Used To Be Rich Last Sunday by Judith Viorst

  • Youth can count out pennies for the money Alexander “loses” throughout the week

A Bargain for Frances by Russell Hoban

  • A discussion can be had on making wise choices with money, saving for certain goals, exchanging or trading, and also about friendship

Literature is such an important method of financial education instruction that the Michigan Jumpstart Coalition offers a program to provide financial literacy library collections to Michigan schools. Michigan Jumpstart is a conglomeration of more than 30 organizations; public, private and non-profit; that seek to improve the personal financial literacy of Michigan’s young people. Their website can provide additional details on how to donate or become involved in providing educational resources to youth on the topic of money management.

Reading opens minds and, with the addition of a financial education component, children can be on the right path to understanding how to manage their own money. Happy reading!

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