Being a lifelong suburbanite and never introduced to 4-H, my knowledge of 4-H has been limited to stories in the paper about prize-winning sheep and goats at the local county fair that were raised by 4-H kids. I feel certain that many share my stereotypical understanding that 4-H is about animals and the “home arts” of cooking, baking, sewing, etc. Imagine my surprise when a casual conversation about spend-save-share.org in a business networking setting opened my eyes wide!
What I learned as I sipped my coffee was that 4-H sponsors a comprehensive financial literacy program. Here’s the description from the 4-H website, 4-H.org. Reading Makes Cents is comprised of a collection of 53 experiential activities developed around exemplary children’s literature that has money as a theme. The selected children’s literature explores ideas, activities, and strategies that help children learn how to earn, save, share, and spend money. Children’s literature provides a rich diversity of settings, people, income levels, relationships, ethnic backgrounds, cultures, religions, holidays, intergenerational friendships all related to money messages and learning.
The Activity Guide includes sections on Managing Money, Spending Money, Saving Money, Sharing Money, Earning Money, Borrowing Money, along with Feedback and Support Materials.
The program also features a Web Resources section for further in-depth money information and a very fun Money Facts segment. Here are a few of my favorite Money Facts from the program web page:
• Would you guess that the average life expectancy of your one-dollar bill is just 18 months or that you can fold a dollar bill 8,000 times before it will tear?
• Did you know that before paper money was used, Americans used buckskins for money? This is where we get the term “bucks.”
• Did you know that the U.S. Secret Service was established to stop counterfeiting?
I’m excited to know about this program, and many others I discovered at a 4-H.org, and will explore it further. In the meantime, please share your comments if you have experience with Reading Makes Cents. We’d love to hear from you!