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Media Can Play Important Role in Teaching Character Building Skills

HandsOn.pngResults of a new research study released today, “It Starts with Character: Inspiring Kids & Teens to Volunteer” found that kids and teens who have more exposure to character-building skills, such as sharing, being kind and helping others, are more likely to volunteer in their communities, and with greater frequency. The study also found that parents and teachers say that media (TV, film, books, magazines, games, apps and Internet) can play an important role in communicating the value of character education. The study was commissioned by Scholastic Media – a division of Scholastic Inc. – and HandsOn Network – the volunteer enterprise of Points of Light – and administered by C+R Research and MDR.

Among the study’s findings from parent, teacher, kid and teen respondents:

·         Parents (84 percent), teachers (78 percent), kids age 6–11 (73 percent), and teens age 12–17 (64 percent) say character-building skills are among the most important skills to develop along with academic skills in order to be successful in life.

·         The more kids and teens are exposed to character-building skills, the greater their level of interest in volunteering. Additionally, kids and teens who are more exposed to character-building skills volunteer more frequently.

·         Eighty-eight percent of parents and 93 percent of teachers believe that volunteering provides opportunities for children to build character.

·         Ninety-four percent of parents and 98 percent of teachers agree that media can play an important role in teaching kids the value of character education; 63 percent of teachers believe that kids would benefit from more media exposure to lessons about character-building skills.

“This study demonstrates the importance of having curriculum for the heart as well as the head,” said Francie Alexander, Senior Vice President of Scholastic Education and Chief Academic Officer of Scholastic Inc. “At Scholastic, we put the same value on preparing children for good citizenship as we do for careers and college.”

 Findings Coincide With Launch of Fourth Annual ‘Clifford® BE BIG™ In Your Community’

National Contest to Inspire Service and Volunteerism

“This survey reinforces the importance of ensuring that kids are able to discover their power to make a difference in their communities at an early age,” said Michelle Nunn, CEO of Points of Light. “Programs like BE BIG encourage our next generation to act on their potential to make their mark on the world.”

The findings coincide with today’s launch of the fourth annual ‘Clifford BE BIG in Your Community’ national contest, which is designed to inspire engagement in service and volunteerism. Beginning today, the contest invites kids of all ages, teachers, parents and community leaders to submit proposals that demonstrate how Clifford’s BIG Ideas (Share, Help Others, Be Kind, Be Responsible, Play Fair, Be a Good Friend, Believe in Yourself, Have Respect, Work Together and Be Truthful) can make the world a better place. Submitted ideas vie for the chance to win up to $10,000 in community grants from the BE BIG Fund to be used to implement the winning proposals. The mission of the fund is to recognize and reward others for their BIG actions, to catalyze change in local communities, and to provide resources for everyone to share BIG ideas. Entry forms can be found at http://www.scholastic.com/cliffordbebig/contest/; those interested can also explore their local HandsOn Network action center for opportunities to serve in their community at http://www.handsonnetwork.org/actioncenters/map. Complete rules are online at www.scholastic.com/cliffordbebig/contestrules.*

Additional findings of the study include:

  • Teacher, kid and teen survey respondents name Clifford The Big Red Dog® as the character most associated with teaching character-building skills relative to other characters.
  • The vast majority of parents (96 percent), teachers (98 percent), kids (91 percent), and teens (81 percent) surveyed agree that Clifford’s BIG Ideas are valuable/important.

The study was commissioned to examine the role of the BE BIG™ program on civic engagement, as it continues to grow and inspire communities to engage in service. “It Starts with Character: Inspiring Kids & Teens to Volunteer” is a national online survey of more than 1,000 individuals – 250 parents of kids age 2–11, 251 kids age 6–11, 249 teens age 12–17, and 260 kindergarten through second-grade teachers.  The sample was drawn from C+R Research and MDR online panels, and the survey was fielded from October 10, 2011 through October 25, 2011.  The margin of error is +/– 5.2 percent at a 90 percent confidence level. The study results can be viewed online at mediaroom.scholastic.com/clifford and www.handsonnetwork.org/bebig.

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