A Lesson in Savings

Traci MurphyApril 25, 2023

Reading on an iPad leads to lessons about financial literacy.

When Ben Bravence, a portfolio manager with UMB Bank, heard about Lead to Read KC, he knew it was something he wanted to be a part of.

“I consider reading my biggest hobby,” Bravence said. “So when a couple of co-workers, who were Reading Mentors, told me about Lead to Read and then asked if I was interested in joining, I jumped at the opportunity and have not looked back.”

Building Bonds

Bravence has served as a Reading Mentor at Crossroads Quality Hill Elementary for four years and he now sits on our Board of Directors. It’s the bonds he builds with the students that keep him coming back.

“It is always fun developing a bond through learning about what is going on in my student’s life, whether that be a few minutes ago at recess or hearing funny stories about their dogs,” he said. 

Watching the students become better readers is another highlight for Bravence.

“Learning to read is challenging, and it is always fun watching students progress,” he said. “For example, my reader, Luna, has gone from reading primarily picture books to chapter books this school year. It has been fun to watch and to help her develop her reading skills!”

Other Skills Being Developed

As a banker, Ben also finds opportunities to weave in financial literacy concepts during the reading sessions.

“Financial literacy is important because we all need to understand the value of money and how to manage our finances – even if it is just a little piggy bank,” Bravence said. 

And according to the National Financial Educators Council (NFEC), when children learn about money at an early age, they are less impressionable about the attitudes toward money held by the adults around them.1 

“Once they know proper money management skills, they tend to keep them and use them throughout their lives.” – NFEC

The concepts of financial literacy are not something Bravence and his reader talk about often, but it does come up, especially when students read on their iPads. 

“The reading app on the iPads allows students to earn tokens for completing books. They can then use these tokens to purchase items for their avatar,” he said. “While these avatars may distract students from time to time, they teach students a lesson in savings since the items to make their avatars look cool require a greater amount of tokens.”

These virtual lessons in savings add up and help to build a foundation for students to understand the importance of spending, sharing, and saving.

Like reading, financial literacy is one of the most important skills a child needs to have a happy, productive life and successful career. If you’d like to learn more about financial literacy, the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City’s website has resources for all ages.

Or learn more about teaching children good money habits on the UMB blog.

1. https://www.financialeducatorscouncil.org/why-is-financial-literacy-important-for-youth/