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Extension > Family > Personal Finance > Youth and Money > Adult Resources > Adult Resources for Preschool and Elementary Students > Using Children's Literature to Teach Financial Literacy

Adult Resources for Preschool and Elementary Students

Using Children´s Literature to Teach Financial Literacy

Did you know children’s books can help teach financial literacy to youth? The tools and resources found on this page can help you no matter if you’re a parent, a teacher, or someone else who has “teachable moments” with youth.

Using Children’s Literature

Did you know that you can teach your children about economics and money management through reading to them? This is Lori Hendrickson, Extension Educator for the University of Minnesota Extension.

An article from the International Reading Association indicates that you can teach children economic and money concepts by reading children’s books to them.

Think about the books that your children love and want read again and again to them. Are there concepts in these books that can teach them about life long skills like money management?

The benefits of reading aloud to children are well documented. The National Commission on reading indicates that the act of reading aloud to children is the most significant determinant of developing children’s literacy skills.

But the content of these books can be just as important particularly if they love the story and can remember the message.

If you’d like more information about teaching children personal finance through children’s literature, visit the University of Minnesota Extension Youth & Money site.

Featured Resource

Once Upon a Time...Using Children's Literature to Teach Personal Finance Presentation

Watch an online presentation to learn about curriculum and books to promote financial literacy of youth.

Teaching Personal Finance Through Children’s Literature (119 K PDF) — Reviews 25 popular children’s books and the financial literacy topics that they help teach.

Using Children’s Literature — Did you know that you can teach your children about economic and money management through reading to them? Transcript and audio (1:37).

Related Resources

Free Resources*

Bank It — Free resource that helps parents understand, talk about, and manage money. Includes 12 key financial tips to cover with your teen and a teen section for helping teens ask their parents questions about finance.

Book of the MonthRutgers School of Arts and Sciences — Online list that gives a “book of the month” that contains powerful lessons about economics.

Finance in the Classroom — Has many links to resources for parents on educating their children about personal finance. Includes resources for children preschool through teen years.

Finance for Kids and TeensSquidoo — Online list of websites that can be used for helping kids learn about money (making it, saving it, and managing it). Many of the sites have interactive games to make learning money management easier and fun.

Financial Fitness For Life® Parent Guide — A first-time ever curriculum developed for parents to begin sharing financial fitness for life with their children at every grade level. Parents Guide for Grades K-5 and Grades 6-12. Also available in Spanish.

Financial Literacy Books for Parents — Books sorted by grade level, from preschool to Grade 12. Parents Guide lists books for teaching financial literacy to their children.

How To Teach Kids About Money — Series of 23 short videos, narrated by Janet Bodner (author of Money Smart Kids), gives advice on how to teach your kids key principles of money and finance.

Institute of Consumer Financial Education — This site offers ways for parents and grandparents to teach kids about money. Also includes money tips for children and young adults.

The Mint: Parents and Kids and Money — This resource gives parents tips and tools for teaching money literacy and help them assess their ability to model good financial habits. 

*This resource list was compiled by Jump$tart and is used by permission.


Financial Fitness For Life® Parent GuideCouncil for Economic Education — A ground-breaking curriculum developed for parents to begin sharing financial fitness for life with their children at every grade level. Parent Guides available in English and Spanish for Grades K-5 and Grades 6-12. Hard copies are also available for purchase.

Money on the BookshelfUniversity of Nevada Cooperative Extension — This innovative, national award winning program helps you talk with your children ages 4 - 10 about money. Because the program is built around children's books, it also helps you play a role in the literacy development of your children. This 170-page document can be printed directly from the website, free of charge.

Reading Makes CentsNational 4-H Council — A collection of 53 experiential activities for 3rd-5th graders, 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 explores a diversity of settings, people, income levels, relationships, ethnic backgrounds, cultures, religions, holidays, and intergenerational friendships all related to money messages and learning. Available for purchase.

Teaching Economics Using Children's LiteratureCouncil for Economic Education — This elementary curriculum booklet contains practical, classroom-tested lessons to use with popular children's stories. Available for purchase.

Research Articles

Behal, P. A., Bennett, K. K., Crites, A. M., & Weigel, D. (2003). Money on the bookshelf: Using children's books to reach limited resource families with money management education. Journal of Extension, 41(2). Retrieved February 16, 2011.

Bernanke, B. S. (2006). Financial literacy. Testimony before the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs of the United States Senate, May, 23. Retrieved February 16, 2011.

Council for Economic Education. (2011). Teaching Economics Using Children’s Literature. Retrieved February 16, 2011.

Danes, S. M. (1994). Parental perceptions of children's financial socialization. Financial Counseling and Planning, 5, 127-146. Retrieved February 16, 2011.

Kock, J. A. (2003). Children's literacy: Children's books for healthy Families/Libros de niños para familias saludables. Journal of Extension, 41(2). Retrieved February 16, 2011.

Rodgers, Y. V., Hawthorne, S., & Wheeler, R. C. (2007). Teaching economics through children's literature in the primary grades. The Reading Teacher, 61(1), 46-55.

Suiter, M., & Meszaros, B. T. (2005). Teaching about saving and investing in the elementary and middle school grades. Social Education, 69(2), 92-96.

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