The Missouri Reader Vol. 41, Issue 1 - Page 34

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Children’s Literature: An Engaging Way to Learn Economics

By Eva K. Johnson

Children’s literature transports young readers in time and space. Literature allows a child to be someone else and learn about far-away places and ideas that are new. The ability to read write and comprehend are the essence of literacy. Making informed choices and recognizing the costs and consequences are fundamentals of economic literacy. By teaching the economics in children’s literature, teachers can also better prepare students to make informed life choices. When choosing books for your class, consider these books.

A Chair for My Mother by Vera B. Williams and a Caldecott Honor Book, is about Rosa and her mother and grandmother who save money to buy a chair after their furniture is

destroyed in a fire. This touching story provides an opportunity for students to learn that characters in the book are human resources who save part of the income they earn. Students can identify other human resources, discuss how their work allows them to earn income, and choices they can make that will help them reach a savings goal. If you are familiar with this story but have never thought of teaching about it in this way, welcome to the economic way of thinking. A print ready lesson with activities to teach this lesson can be found here: https://www.stlouisfed.org/education/a-chair-for-my-mother . A ready to use whiteboard lesson and a parent Q&A are also available on this page.

Are you looking for a new way to celebrate the 100th day of school? Why not use the lesson for Alexander, Who Used to Be Rich Last Sunday by Judith

Viorst? In this story Alexander receives a dollar from his grandparents that he plans to save, but he spends it all, a little at a time. In this lesson, students count by twos to fill a container with 100 pennies. They are asked whether 100 pennies is the same amount of money as a dollar. They listen to the story and as Alexander spends his money, students come up and remove the correct number of pennies from the container. At the end of the story, students are again asked if 100 pennies is the same amount of money as one dollar. Students discuss the choices that Alexander made and give advice on how he could save his money to reach his savings goal of buying a walkie-talkie. This lesson reinforces math content and graphing skills. This lesson can be found here: https://www.stlouisfed.org/education/alexander-who-used-to-be-rich-last-sunday ready to use whiteboard lesson and parent Q&As are also available on this page.