Financial literacy. I can hear it now. The song that gets stuck in my head every time I think about this topic. The bass guitar walking through the opening notes and the echo trailing behind it. A smooth voice joining the bass guitar, “Money money money money, money.” The opening riffs to The O’Jays’ song, For the Love of Money, is a staple in my opening discussions around financial literacy. Financial literacy can be a difficult topic to tackle since it is such a personal one. When bringing it up in two-generation programming, it is essential to create a safe space where adults feel comfortable sharing their personal life experiences and asking questions. If your participants have had the opportunity to create bonds and are interested in learning about financial literacy, there are a few fun and engaging ways to talk about the subject. 1. Read a children’s book with a financial literacy lesson. What better way to start a conversation than by enjoying a story together? By reading a story and pulling out the important lessons, you can make tougher concepts more approachable. The story, depending on the book, can also demonstrate how ideas, such as want versus need, opportunity cost, etc., affect our everyday lives. Here are three recommendations to get you started:
- Vera Williams, A Chair for My Mother. Grandma, mom, and daughter work together to save enough money to buy a much-needed easy chair for their home.
- Judith Viorst, Alexander, Who Used to Be Rich Last Sunday. Learn what happens when Alexander gets some money to spend.
- Barbara S. Hazen, Tight Times. A story about a young boy, his family, and their experiences when dad loses his job.
If your families love a good gaming app for their phones, look no further than Renegade Buggies! This app was put together by NCFL and Dollar General Literacy Foundation to help parents and children gain financial literacy skills together.
For families with teens, this card game is a hands-on way to talk about money. The ultimate goal of the game is to help players understand their spending habits and attitudes that affect their spending choices. Money Habitudes is endorsed by the Institute of Consumer Financial Education.3. Take a field trip! There are several places participants can visit with their families to learn more about their spending habits or put their newfound knowledge into action.
- A local bank or credit union
Schedule a time with your local bank or credit union to bring families in and have their questions about credit cards, credit scores, home loans, and more answered by experts in the community. This is also a great time for families to open savings accounts for themselves or their children if they are interested!
- Simulated supermarket
If a trip into the community is not possible, fear not! You can take a trip within your very own classroom. Create a typical supermarket in your room with items from around the house. Have families “shop” in YOUR supermarket. After they are done shopping, participants can organize their items based on the concept you are trying to teach, such as want versus need, spending on a budget, and per-unit cost. For a fun twist, have the kids be the lead shoppers!Although financial literacy is a difficult topic to tackle, it is not impossible. Creating a supportive environment and framing discussions in a fun and engaging manner makes all the difference. When your families are ready for the discussion, crank up that stereo and have a fun talking about “Money money money money, money!”
Toyota Family Learning Program
Toyota, one of the nation's most successful corporations, began a partnership with NCFL in 1991. In addition to a commitment of more than $50 million, Toyota has also contributed a wealth of in-kind support — including advertising, planning and management expertise — to form one of the most progressive corporate/nonprofit partnerships in the nation.
Three major programs have been developed through the Toyota partnership based on the family literacy model of parents and children learning together. These models have influenced federal and state legislation, leveraged local dollars to support family literacy and led to successful programs being replicated across the country.Read more about Toyota's commitment to communities
William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust
NCFL received its very first donation in 1989 from the William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust to promote and implement family literacy programming, first in Kentucky and North Carolina and later nationwide. The Kenan Family Literacy Model in part laid the groundwork for 30 years of subsequent family literacy and family learning programming developed by NCFL.
Kenan has continued to support NCFL’s place-based family literacy programs since our inception. Most recently, they invested in the organization’s Innovation Fund, which will launch emerging ideas and programmatic evolutions in the multigenerational learning space.Learn more about the William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust
Dollar General Literacy Foundation
The Dollar General Literacy Foundation began partnering with NCFL in 2006. A signature effort of this partnership is the National Literacy Directory, a resource that launched in 2010 and strives to reach the 35.7 million adults ages 18-64 who do not have a high school diploma by guiding them to better-paying, more stable jobs.
The National Literacy Directory contains over 10,000 educational agencies located across the United States and has a dedicated toll-free number to help support those wanting to pursue educational opportunities in their communities.
Dollar General also provides support for development of NCFL’s innovative family learning resources centered on financial literacy and Parent and Child Together (PACT) Time®.Learn more about the Dollar General Literacy Foundation
PNC Grow Up Great
PNC Grow Up Great believes deeply in the power of high-quality early childhood education and provides innovative opportunities that assist families, educators and community organizations to enhance children's learning and development.
PNC Grow Up Great has partnered with NCFL since 1994 to advance early literacy and learning resources for vulnerable families. Current efforts supported by PNC include a collaborative initiative in two at-risk Detroit communities that engages families to support vocabulary development for children under age 5.
NCFL's work is also featured on the PNC Grow Up Great Lesson Center website. The Lesson Center includes over 100 free, high-quality preschool lesson plans and research-based instructional techniques and strategies. All lesson plans contain Home/School Connections printouts, in English and Spanish, to help families extend and reinforce the learning at home.Learn more about PNC Grow Up Great
Better World Books
Better World Books selected NCFL as its domestic literacy partner in 2005 and has raised more than $1 million to support NCFL’s work and donated more than $15 million to support literacy and education efforts worldwide. Better World Books is a triple-bottom-line online bookstore, working equally for people, planet and profit. Each book purchased powers literacy across the world.
Better World Books’ support of NCFL has provided books and workshops to families after Hurricane Katrina, donated large book donations to literacy programs and families nationwide and fueled innovative family literacy and learning programs and resources in libraries, schools and community-based organizations. In addition to their work for literacy and education, Better World Books diverts books from landfills and offers carbon-balanced shipping.Read more about Better World Books
NCFL has partnered with the Goodling Institute for Research and Family Literacy at Penn State University since 2001, working collaboratively to further research, professional development, and policy efforts for family literacy and intergenerational learning.
The work of this partnership includes, but is not limited to, a strong research strand at NCFL's national annual convening, the Families Learning Summit; advocacy for family literacy and learning to further support for and inclusion of family-focused education in new and ongoing legislation; and dissemination of the latest research, resources, information, and professional development opportunities for literacy and learning practitioners and advocates, including the Certificate in Family Literacy provided by the Goodling Institute.Learn more about the Goodling Institute for Research and Family Literacy at Penn State University