Financial Literacy

Financial literacy starts in preschool with counting, and then the introduction of basic financial concepts. Many books explore how to earn money and what to do with that money, and some illustrate what it’s like when there is not enough money. The recommended books below are perfect to start conversations about compassion and help students understand different financial perspectives. As kids get older, they will try to figure out how to earn their own money and these fiction selections feature some fun ideas.

A fun and interactive way to spark student interest in learning more about financial literacy is to host a fundraising effort benefiting a local non-profit organization. Help your students take on the challenge! Here are a few steps to get them started:

Determine your beneficiary
Have your students brainstorm organizations with needs in their own community. For example, the food bank, homeless shelter, animal shelter or sanctuary, after-school program, meals for seniors, English-as-a-Second Language classes, etc.

Do your research
Take the top two or three ideas and have the students research and contact those organizations to determine their specific needs. Vote on an organization to support.

Set a fundraising goal
Based on the needs of the organization, set a monetary goal and determine what each student would need to raise. Remember, goals should be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-Bound.

Pick a fundraiser
There are all kinds of great ideas to raise funds for your charitable organization. Examples include collecting pennies in a container marked with monetary goal lines, hosting a school event where you take donations, such as talent show or play, a bake sale, a donation drive (food for the food bank, blankets for the homeless shelter, pet food for the animal sanctuary, books for the after-school program, etc)

Invite other classrooms to match, or exceed, the fundraising goals for your chosen organization, or one of their own choosing.

Manage your money
Schedule different students to collect and count the money regularly, we suggest students work in pairs and update the class on progress toward the goal.

Celebrate and donate
Once you meet your goal or hit the deadline for donations, contact the organization and invite them to visit your class for a presentation that outlines the efforts made by the students, and a ceremony to present the donation. 


A First Look at Money

A First Look at Money series by Laura Hamilton Waxman features: Let’s Explore: Saving Money, Spending Money, Earning Money and Needs and Wants, illustrates basic concepts and begins the financial literacy conversation.

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Yard Sale

A sensitive portrayal of a girl who learns that a home isn’t the things you own, it’s the people you love.

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The Girl and the Bicycle

A wordless picture book about a girl who wants a bicycle, attempts to earn the money to buy it and learns that things don’t always work out the way you planned.

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Marty McGuire Has Too Many Pets

Marty’s Mom is volunteering at an animal sanctuary and Marty wants to help, so she starts her own pet-sitting business and convinces her school to raise money at the talent show. Does Marty have what it takes to succeed? 

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Lawn Boy

In this classic tale, with chapters titled “The Principles of Economic Expansion” and “Labor Acquisition and Its Effect on Capital Growth”, a boy turns his grandmother’s gift of an old lawn mower into a thriving business.

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Two friends from coding camp use their skills to develop a trading app to earn money for a trip to Game On Con.

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