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First Lady Pamela Northam highlights Virginia529 financial literacy initiative

reading makes centsVirginia529 and the Virginia Council on Economic Education  announced a special collaboration with Virginia First Lady Pamela Northam in support of the financial literacy program for elementary students in Virginia, Reading Makes Cents.

The program has launched a video featuring Northam reading aloud from “Save It,” a book in the popular Moneybunny series by Cinders McLeod.

The book, which is one of three book selections in this year’s Reading Makes Cents challenge, offers an introduction to simple money concepts as a little bunny learns about the power and satisfaction that come with saving money.

The video, along with resources, will be posted at readingmakescents.com, and on VCEE’s YouTube and Facebook pages to provide easy access for teachers, students and parents.

“Every child in Virginia deserves to transition into adulthood with the resources and skills they need to succeed, and financial literacy is key to that success,” Northam said.

“I’m thrilled to support families and the mission of the Reading Makes Cents program.”

Virginia529 created Reading Makes Cents seven years ago in partnership with the Virginia Council on Economic Education to introduce basic financial concepts to K-5 students. The program teaches a multitude of age-appropriate financial literacy and SOL concepts through a selection of engaging books, lesson plans and fun activities provided to Virginia schools.

Concepts covered include goods and services, bartering, money, savings, capital resources, natural resources, jobs, opportunity cost and scarcity.

“Financial literacy impacts almost every aspect of our lives,” said Daniel Mortensen, VCEE president and CEO. “Reading Makes Cents puts the toolkit in the hands of our parents and school librarians and encourages important conversations in a way that resonates with children.”

Since its creation, more than 20,000 students have participated in Reading Makes Cents. Virginia529 has donated more than 5,000 free books to elementary schools across Virginia and awarded more than $50,000 worth of Invest529 savings accounts.

April is Financial Literacy Month, which highlights the importance of financial education and teaches individuals how to establish and maintain healthy financial habits. It also marks School Library Month, which celebrates the essential role school libraries play in transforming learning.

“This month is a perfect time to acknowledge the invaluable role educators — specifically librarians — have in helping equip children with the skills that pave their way to a healthy financial future,” said Mary Morris, Virginia529 CEO.

“We’re grateful for First Lady Northam’s recognition and support of our efforts to engage students and families in discussions on financial topics at a young age.”

To participate in this year’s Reading Makes Cents challenge and be entered for a chance to win a $529 Invest529 account to apply toward higher education costs, visit readingmakescents.com, complete the online reading log, and submit it by April 30.


Augusta Health Augusta Free Press Kris McMackin CPA
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Augusta Free Press