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Children's Book Teaches Kids Importance of Political Participation(November 23, 2011)
RALEIGH, NC -- (Marketwire) -- 11/23/11 -- According to the figures compiled by The Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement, a project by Tufts University, youth voting in presidential elections has been inching up in recent years. In 2008, 51 percent of voters ages 18 to 30 voted, up 2 percent from the 2004 elections. Mary Jane McKittrick, author of the children's book "Election Day," part of the Boomer and Halley series (www.boomerandhalley.com), wants to keep those numbers climbing.
"I believe children need more than just a history lesson about democracy," said McKittrick, a former broadcast journalist who studied speech communication in college. "Kids need to be shown how the democratic process works and how people can make changes locally and around the country."
McKittrick suggests parents can help teach their kids about democracy by doing the following:
- Vote -- It's difficult to teach your child about the election process if you don't vote. You should make a point to vote, and when age-appropriate, bring your children with you when you do. If you vote via absentee ballot, show your child the form and explain how important it is to make sure your vote counts.
- Connect Laws to Their Lives -- Children may not have a frame of reference for how a law is passed, but they encounter government in action practically every day. When there is road construction on the way to school, it represents tax dollars being spent to improve the community. When they see campaign signs all around during an election cycle, it's another opportunity to explain what it's all about.
- Don't Talk Politics, Talk Issues -- Politics can be boring for kids, and they may not have a frame of reference for it. But issues, like whether the school year should be longer or why they take standardized tests at school, can be discussed easily because it's relevant to their lives. Ask questions like "If you could make the rules, what would you do?" It will get them thinking and caring about democracy and their role in it.
About Mary Jane McKittrick
Mary Jane McKittrick is the creator, author, producer and publisher of the Boomer and Halley books for ages 4-8. The books feature Boomerang, an Australian shepherd dog, and Halley's Comet, a silver streak of a cat, teaching core values in a fun-filled way.
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