If Kids Could Vote

If Kids Could Vote : Children, Democracy and the Media

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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. Besides teachers - 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, Sugarman also examines some aspects of the media and of the school situation to see how they effect 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, those involved in media literacy, popular culture, and child development.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 144 pages
  • 149.9 x 218.4 x 17.8mm | 226.8g
  • Lexington Books
  • Lanham, MD, United States
  • English
  • Annotated
  • 0739113968
  • 9780739113967

Review quote

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. -- Frank Pignatelli, Bank Street College of Education 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. -- David Phillips, Wesleyan University 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. -- Michael Kalinowski, University of New Hampshire
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About Sally Sugarman

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

Chapter 1 The Changing Nature of Childhood and of the Media Chapter 2 The Beginnings of the Study Chapter 3 A Look at Three Elections Chapter 4 Politics and the Media in a Non-Election Year Chapter 5 Books, Textbooks, and the Classroom Chapter 6 The New Media Chapter 7 Educating for Democracy
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