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Activity

The Great Save: Exploring Costs and Savings

 

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The Great Save: Exploring Costs and Savings

Grades 3 – 5
Activity Time Three hours (can be done over different days)
Publisher International Reading Association
 

What You Need

Here’s What To Do

More Ideas To Try

Glossary

 

What You Need

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Here’s What To Do

1. Together, read A Chair for My Mother by Vera B. Williams.

2. Talk about what the family wants and what the child thinks about how they go about getting it. Use the following questions as a guide:

  • Why do you think Rosa’s family wants to buy a new chair? Do you agree with them? Why or why not?

  • What do you think about the plan they come up with to save for one?

  • What do you think about how each family member adds money to the collection? Do you think any of the ways is better than the others?

  • When you want something, what do you think is the best way to go about getting it? Do you save money? Where, how, and why?

Also talk about the fact that Rosa works at the same diner where her mother works. Since young children don’t typically work in places like restaurants, it’s important to discuss the child’s feelings about that—and to also come up with some appropriate alternatives. What are some good ways a child can contribute to a family goal? Perhaps by doing chores around the house, selling things no longer wanted, or simply by going without certain things like candy or new toys for a while.

3. Have the child identify something in the house that he or she would like to replace. (It doesn’t have to be a piece of furniture, but it should be substantial enough to require some savings.) Discuss why the child thinks the family could use this particular item. It may be to make the home more comfortable or fun or to make someone in the family happy.

4. Working together on the computer, visit the various retail websites listed on the Cost Comparison Chart. Research the item the child wishes to buy and fill in the chart.

5. If you wish to do more cost comparing, you might visit a local store to get additional costs for the item. This is a good way to get the child to think about the features of the item and possibly to discuss them with a salesperson.

6. Talk about income, spending, and saving.

  • Income is the money we earn for our work, whether we are adults working at our jobs or children getting an allowance for our chores.

  • Spending is the way we choose to use our money. We may buy something small with the money we earn today, or we can make a plan to save our earnings to buy something larger in the future.

  • Savings is what we call this build-up of earnings over time.

Talk about the fact that it isn’t always easy to save. In some cases, like Rosa’s, this is because the necessities of life—food, clothing, shelter—take up so much of the earnings that there isn’t much left over to put away for later. Other times, though, it’s simply because we want things now and don’t like to wait. Remind children that sacrificing smaller items is often necessary in order to save money for a larger goal.

7. Together fill out a Savings Plan for the items on the Cost Comparison Chart. Write the name and cost of the item, the amount of allowance that can be saved in a week, and any alternate ways of saving (for example, putting away the money that would usually be spent on a candy bar). Using these amounts, help the child figure out how long it would take to save enough money to buy each of the items. (Don’t forget to double-check the math!) Finally, ask the child which item he or she would decide to buy in the end and why. Talk about how it would feel to finally get the item.

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More Ideas To Try

Talk about the difference between the things we want and the things we need. Remind the child that Rosa’s family saves half of what she earns. What does the child think the family does with the other half? Make a list of 10–20 household items, including specific types of food items, clothing, and toys. Ask the child to sort the necessary things from the wanted things. Get as specific as you’d like (for example, shoes are necessary but designer sneakers might be a luxury).

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Glossary

Think critically

 

To think both logically and creatively about a topic using different kinds of information. When people think critically, they not only attend to new words and ideas, but they also connect these words and ideas with the things they already know.

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