“Reading Makes ₵ents” curriculum teaches children money concepts

Reading Makes ₵ents teaches young people about money concepts by using children’s literature and related hands-on activities.

The National 4-H curriculumReading Makes ₵ents” was designed for children in third through fifth grades and strives to use children’s literature to introduce young people to basic personal finance concepts. For each lesson, a featured book is intended to be read aloud to the children followed by a related hands-on activity. The series is ideal for classroom use as well as out-of-school time programs.

The chapters are focused around seven financial themes including the history of money, managing money, earning, spending, saving, sharing money, and borrowing and lending. Each lesson is structured to be completed in one session and can be used in sequence or as a stand-alone lesson.

Each activity in the curriculum helps young people learn and practice important life skills like planning and organizing, managing resources, communication, decision-making and problem-solving.

The activities are laid out to include all the information required to conduct the lesson including the goal, the read-aloud selection, a materials list, the time required, step-by-step instructions and discussion questions. There are even additional suggested activities for children who are interested in further exploring a specific topic. A set of “family time activities” are provided which gives parents the opportunity to reinforce the lesson at home; these are available in both Spanish and English.

This quality curriculum is constructed to utilize the engaging “experiential learning model.” The five-step process includes experiencing the activity, sharing what was learned, reflecting on what was learned, generalizing the life skill to their life and applying that life skill to a new situation. Discussion questions are provided to help guide the children through the process.

All of the lessons have been benchmarked to the academic standards in both personal finance and/or English language arts for third- or fourth-grade students. The curriculum was developed by professionals at Pennsylvania State University and pilot tested by youth in after-school programs across the country. It has been reviewed, recommended and accepted into the National 4-H Curriculum set of professional educational resources. Future articles will highlight lessons from the curriculum.

The 194-page guide is available from the 4-H Mall under the curriculum “reading/financial literacy.” Contact your local Michigan State University Extension office for additional information about financial literacy programming for youth.

For more information about children and money, visit the eXtension personal finance webpage.

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