If Kids Could Vote

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Preparing children to become citizens of a democracy requires recognition of the different ways in which children learn about politics. Kids in the United States currently spend most of their lives in controlled situations such as schools where the dependency they experience in their homes is reinforced. Books, films, television, and video games influence how children think about democracy. Interviews and surveys of children during three Presidential elections and two non-Presidential years show how some sixth-graders in a Vermont town react to the political issues raised in those elections. Besides presenting the children's voices, Sally Sugarman also examines various aspects of the media and the school situation to see how they affect the children's thinking. Changes that might improve the children's understanding and knowledge of democracy are also suggested. This book should be of interest to parents, teachers, and those involved in media literacy, popular culture, and child development.

About the Author:
Sally Sugarman is emeritus faculty from Bennington College where she taught Childhood Studies

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Editorial Reviews

Frank Pignatelli
What it means and what it takes to be a citizen lies at the heart of this important book. If our belief in the promise of schooling for democracy is to be taken seriously, Sugarman gives us a wake-up call. With a strong mix of critical awareness and hope, she awakens us, adults, to what is at stake when we settle for a vision of school success content to rely upon superficial, rigid, standards and a narrow-minded landscape of experiences.
David Phillips
If Kids Could Vote is a fascinating investigation into the formation of children's political consciousness. Told through the voices of children themselves, it demonstrates how children construct ideas about citizenship and democracy from messages they receive at home, at school, and in the media. A must read for parents, teachers, (and politicians) seeking to understand their influence on the next generation of voters.
Michael Kalinowski
This is an outstanding contribution to our knowledge of how children perceive politics and the media. Sally Sugarman really knows children. She is well respected for her influence on the scholarly analysis of popular culture. Here she provides a superb contribution to our further understanding of them, and of course ourselves. This is a very impressive, very well written book and will be referred to by researchers and reporters for at least the next decade.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780739113950
  • Publisher: The Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group Inc
  • Publication date: 11/9/2006
  • Pages: 144
  • Product dimensions: 9.00 (w) x 6.00 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Sally Sugarman is emeritus faculty from Bennington College where she taught Childhood Studies for thirty-five years.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments     ix
The Changing Nature of Childhood and the Media     1
The Beginnings of the Study     19
A Look at Three Elections     33
Politics and the Media in a Non-Election Year     55
Books, Textbooks, and the Classroom     69
The New Media     91
Educating for Democracy     107
Selected Bibliography     123
Index     129
About the Author     133
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