Program helps kids read, $10 at a time

TD Bank is offering a summer reading program this summer to encourage children to read and develop the habit of saving money.

My daughter enjoys visiting our local bank branch because last summer we participated in the TD Bank Summer Reading Program that allows kids to earn $10 for reading 10 books.

When she gets coins or dollar bills as a gift from her grandparents or other generous folks, she says "I need to put this in my bank account." She hasn't turned 4 yet, but she already think it's fun to make a trip to the bank to put money in her account.

There's no age limit for the reading promotion, so even children who can't read yet are able to participate. Each time a child reads a book on their own or with a parent they just have to write it down on a form that can be printed out at the bank's Web site. The $10 credit will be deposited into a new or existing Young Savers account when they take the form to a TD Bank branch.

It's never too early to start teaching kids about money. The bank's Web site has a list of books about money to add to your kids' summer reading list. You can also play games with small children that will plant the seed for good financial decisions as they mature.

Even preschoolers love to play going to the bank or the store, depositing money in a piggy bank, or handling real and fake money. Games like Monopoly, Payday or the Game of Life can teach valuable lessons about money to older kids.

Children learn how to handle money in large part by watching their parents. Because my daughter once saw me pay $15 for something, everything she "buys" when we're playing cost $15.

But so far when it comes to real money, she prefers to make a trip to the bank and put money into her account rather than spend any of it. The last time she got a few dollars as a gift I told her she could buy something but she told me "No, I have to go to the bank."

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