Reading is an Investment

Literacy & Financial Education Program

Reading is an Investment Program has begun

This year’s Reading is an Investment (RII) program launched in late September. Sponsored by the Oregon College Savings Plan, it aims to promote literacy and financial education among K-5 elementary students in Oregon.

As part of RII, your school library will receive two free books: Earning Excitement by Paul Nourigat and Isabel's Car Wash by Sheila Bair. The books are tied to the applicable state standards, with class activities designed around these standards (see Lessons section below).

The biggest program component is encouraging kids to read or be read to, and the books should relate to money and finances. Students are encouraged to read at least 3 books from the recommended reading list, and they will track their time in increments of 20 (read-to-me kids) or 40 (independent readers) minutes. Parents or guardians can submit an entry form/reading log on behalf of a child. These children are then automatically entered into a drawing to win one of 50 Oregon College Savings Plan accounts, worth $529 each. For entrants to be eligible for one of the $529 Oregon College Savings Plan accounts, Online entries must be received by April 30, 2014 and all mailed entries must be postmarked by April 30 and received by May 5, 2014. (The winners’ schools also receive $500!) There is an online submission form or THIS form can be downloaded and mailed in.

For more information about the reading is an Investment program, please visit

Standards and the Reading is an Investment program

The books are tied to the Oregon standards for Math, Language Arts and Social Sciences and were selected based on their ability to convey a variety of financial lessons:

  • How to earn, save and spend money wisely
  • How money is circulated and its role in society
  • How to count money and make change
  • How credit and interest work
  • Money and entrepreneurism

Financial literacy is emphasized in the Oregon Social Sciences Standards which were adopted in 2011: These are the three core financial literacy standards, which are then more specific by grade level:

  • Acquire the knowledge and economic reasoning skills to make sound personal financial decisions to meet long and short term goals.
  • Understand and apply key concepts of personal income potential, risk management, and investment.
  • Examine individual responsibility and the impact of decisions on personal, local, regional, national and global economies.

Lessons for the 2013 Reading Is an Investment books

Licensed teachers and librarians have developed grade-specific lesson plans for each book.

Lesson plans for Earning Excitement

Lesson Plans for Isabel's Car Wash

An annotated bibliography of more elementary school books dealing with economics

Check out this fantastic annotated list put together by Angela Leeper, the director of the Curriculum Materials Centers at the University of Richmond, Virginia. Includes Common Core connections.

This smore flyer was created by the Gresham Barlow School District K-8 Media Coordinator, Erin Fitzpatrick-Bjorn