Sharing makes sense in Reading Makes ₵ents

Sharing with others warms two hearts, yours and the person who receives your gift. The 4-H Reading Makes ₵ents curriculum introduces children to the many ways they can share their gifts of time, money and/or talent.

The National 4-H Curriculum, Reading Makes ₵ents, combines two key life skills – reading literacy and money management skills.

The theme of this chapter of the curriculum can be summed up by a quote by self-made tycoon and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, “Think of giving not as a duty, but as a privilege.” Reading selections in this chapter emphasize philanthropy and advocacy.

Teaching young people the value of giving is powerful. Even at their young age, they have numerous ways to share their gifts. The introduction makes a poignant point, “When you share with others you warm two hearts, yours and the person who receives your gift.”

Discussing this quote is an ideal way to start the lesson on philanthropy with third through fifth graders. What does the word mean? Do you know any philanthropists? Can you be one? Youngsters may be surprised to learn that they don’t have to be rich to share.

The opening book selection introduces youth to the true story of Ella Sheppard, who was born into slavery and was a founding member of a singing group to raise funds to save Fisk University. The Jubilee Singers performed around the world and were successful in keeping open one of the first schools for former slaves.

The accompanying activity invites youth to identify philanthropists, select and research one individual and then nominate him/her for the “Reading Makes Cents Philanthropist’s Hall of Fame.” Throughout the activity, the curriculum makes two key points; philanthropy includes giving money, time, goods, services or a talent and that you do not need to give a lot to be a philanthropist.

The story of the Jubilee Singers is also used as a springboard to teach youth about advocacy. The curriculum guides the leader/teacher to facilitate a brainstorming session with the youth to identify social causes and what is important in a charity that they might want to support. Youth educate their peers by giving a presentation on their chosen charity.

Reading another book selection and having a guest speaker helps youth learn about the effort involved in conducting a fundraising activity, including the creation of an action plan and a budget. The goal is to encourage youth to consider ways they could contribute to local causes.

In the final activity, youth read a book about generosity and caring and consider ways they can support their favorite causes even if they do not have money. Together they create a “caring chain” of ideas.

This educational curriculum provides numerous book selections on sharing and giving, including several alternate reading selections for independent readers. The leader/teacher is encouraged to guide the youth to complete the experiential learning process by utilizing the discussion questions and extension activities provided.

The Reading Makes ₵ents 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.

An overview of the curriculum, as well as other chapters of the book, are highlighted in separate articles posted on the Michigan State University Extension website.

This 194-page resource is available for from the 4-H Mall at Reading Makes ₵ents. Contact your local MSU Extension office for additional information about financial literacy programming for youth.

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