Finders Keepers

Should you keep money you find on the street? Two kids face off in the debate.

From the March / April 2018 Issue
Lexile: 600L-700L
Guided Reading Level: S
DRA Level: 40
Topic: Social Issues,
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We found it, so it’s ours. 

Lo encontramos, así que es nuestro.


Dear Leah,

Can you believe we found $100 on the sidewalk in front of our school? We’re so lucky! We should definitely keep it. It’s not like we’re snatching $100 out of someone’s wallet. We have no idea who dropped this money. We don’t know if that person is looking for it, or if he or she even realizes that it’s gone.

Of course we would return it if we knew who dropped it. But how would we find the right person? We can’t just put up signs around the neighborhood saying “Found, $100.” Anybody could say it was theirs. How would we know if they were telling the truth?

Besides, no one is going to judge us. In fact, plenty of people in our position would keep the money. According to a 2017 Scholastic survey of 376 middle schoolers, nearly half said they would keep money they found on the ground. Are all those kids horrible human beings? No!

Here’s an idea. We won’t buy something for ourselves. We’ll buy presents for our parents or our teacher with the money. We’ll use the money to make someone else feel good. So, what do you say?

Your friend,


Querida Leah,

¿Puedes creer que encontramos $100 en la acera al frente de nuestra escuela? ¡Qué suerte! Definitivamente deberíamos quedárnoslo. No es como que le estamos arrebatando $100 a alguien de su billetera. No tenemos idea quién dejó caer este dinero. No sabemos si esa persona lo está buscando, o si él o ella tan siquiera se da cuenta que lo perdió.

Por supuesto que lo devolveríamos si supiéramos quién lo dejó caer. Pero, ¿cómo podríamos encontrar a la persona correcta? No podemos simplemente colocar carteles alrededor del vecindario diciendo “Encontramos $100”. Cualquiera podría decir que es de ellos. ¿Cómo sabríamos si estaban diciendo la verdad?

Además, nadie nos va a juzgar. De hecho, mucha gente en nuestra posición se quedaría con el dinero.

Según una encuesta de Scholastic del 2017 de 376 estudiantes de intermedia, casi la mitad dijo que se quedaría con el dinero encontrado en el suelo. ¿Acaso todos esos niños son seres humanos horribles? ¡No!

Aquí tienes una idea. No compraremos algo para nosotros. Con el dinero compraremos regalos para nuestros padres o nuestra maestra. Usaremos el dinero para hacer sentir bien a otros. Así que, ¿qué dices?

Tu amigo,


Keeping the cash=stealing 

Quedarse con el dinero=robar


Dear Jack,

I don’t feel lucky. All I feel is bad for the person who was unlucky enough to lose that money. One hundred dollars is a fortune! It’s actually illegal to keep money that you find on the street if it’s possible to locate the owner. So we really have to make an effort to find out whose money it is before we spend it.

The survey you mention is interesting. But if people in some survey said it was OK to steal candy from a store, would you think stealing was all right too? I wouldn’t!

We should hand the money over to the police or put up some posters. To make sure the money goes to the true owner, we could require anyone who comes forward to give details about how much money was lost. If we can’t find the owner, we should donate the money to a charity. At least then something good would come of this.

Your friend,


Querido Jack, 

No me siento con suerte. Lo que me siento es mal por la persona que tuvo la mala suerte de perder ese dinero. ¡Cien dólares es una fortuna! En realidad es ilegal quedarse con dinero que uno se encuentra en la calle si es posible encontrar al dueño. Así que realmente debemos hacer un esfuerzo en encontrar de quién es el dinero antes de gastarlo. La encuesta que mencionas es interesante. Pero si la gente en alguna encuesta dijera que está bien robar dulces de una tienda de dulces, ¿también pensarías que robar está bien? ¡Yo no! 

Deberíamos entregar el dinero a la policía o poner algunos carteles. Para asegurarnos de que el dinero llegue al dueño verdadero, podríamos requerirle a cualquiera que lo reclame que provea detalles sobre cuánto dinero se perdió. Si no podemos encontrar al dueño, deberíamos donar el dinero a una organización benéfica. Al menos entonces algo bueno saldría de esto. 

Tu amiga,


Activities (2)
Quizzes (1)
Answer Key (2)
Answer Key (2)
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Quizzes (1)
Answer Key (2)
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More About the Story


main ideas and supporting evidence, opinion writing

Complexity Factors


The debate presents reasons for and against keeping money found on the street.


The debate is presented in the form of two letters, one from a boy to his friend explaining why he thinks they should keep the money they’ve found, and the other from the friend explaining why she disagrees. It includes cause-and-effect and compare-and-contrast structures.


The debate includes a few challenging words, such as snatched and donate, as well as rhetorical questions and other figures of speech.

Knowledge Demands 

The text mentions donating to charity.

Step-by-Step Lesson Plan

1. Preparing to Read

Have students preview the text features. Ask:

  • What is the topic of the debate? (Prompt students to use the debate title and the heading on the chart as clues.)
  • What do you think are the two sides of the issue?

2. Reading the Debate 

Read the debate as a class or in small groups.

Have students read the debate a second time. Prompt them to mark the types of support the author presents to back up each side, including:

  • Facts and statistics (F/S)
  • Quotes from experts (Q)
  • Stories or examples (EX)

3. Discussing

As a class or in groups, have students discuss:

  • Which evidence is most effective in supporting each side?
  • Is one side stronger than the other? Why?
  • What is your opinion? What evidence do you find the most convincing?
  • For more-advanced students: Do you think the author has a preferred point of view on this issue? What is your evidence?

4. Writing

Have students complete the chart in the magazine.

Distribute the activity “Write an Opinion Essay.” The lower-level version guides students to write a three-paragraph essay on the debate topic. The higher-level version prompts them to bring in additional evidence and write six paragraphs, including a rebuttal of the other side. With either version, hand out our Opinion Writing Toolkit, which offers writing tips and transition words.