Books: Kids Read for a Chance to Win a College Savings Plan | Kids VT | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Books: Kids Read for a Chance to Win a College Savings Plan 

Published February 7, 2014 at 9:37 a.m. | Updated April 4, 2022 at 7:51 p.m.

Money management is one of the most important and practical skills a person can learn, but it's often given short shrift in schools, especially at the elementary level. The Vermont State Treasurer's Office is trying to change that with its Reading is an Investment program, which aims to teach kids about basic financial concepts such as saving money and following a budget, while also promoting literacy.

According to the office's website, 128 elementary schools and 22 public libraries statewide are participating in the program this year. Students in kindergarten through sixth grade read at least three books that deal indirectly or directly with money from a  list of 71 titles provided. If they complete a form documenting which books they've read — as well as a a reading log showing they've read a required number of minutes — they are entered into a drawing to win one of 20 $250 college savings plans. The contest deadline is March 15th. 

When my first-grade daughter, Mira, brought home the Reading is an Investment papers, I was eager to check out the books on the list. There's a wide range of literature represented, from preschool favorite Rosemarie Wells' Max's Bunny Business to Gary Paulsen's slim novel about a 12-year-old entrepreneur, Lawn Boy. We've read three of the recommended books in the past week. Here's a little more about the titles we selected.

click to enlarge one_grain.jpg
One Grain of Rice by Demi
Set in India, this mathematical folk tale tells the story of a power-happy raja who decrees that the rice farmers in his province must give nearly all of their rice to him so he can store it safely in case of famine. But when famine strikes, the raja hoards the rice for himself. A quick-witted village girl, Rani, tricks the raja into giving her one grain of rice, then giving her double the amount she received the day before every day for 30 days. The raja assumes it won't add up to much, but by day 30, the raja has to give Rani 536,870,912 grains of rice, effectively cleaning him out and returning the rice to its rightful owners. It's an engaging and satisfying tale of an underdog triumphing over corruption. It's also cool for kids to see how quickly numbers escalate when they are doubled over and over again; There's a nifty chart in the back of the book that illustrates this. On the reading list, the book is recommended for ages 9 to 12, but my nearly 7-year-old daughter lapped it up. And it spurred an interesting bedtime discussion about why people keep their money in banks versus just stashing it under mattresses. 

This article was originally published in Seven Days' monthly parenting magazine, Kids VT.

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About The Author

Alison Novak

Alison Novak

Alison is the former managing editor at Kids VT, Seven Days' parenting publication and writes about education for Seven Days.


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