Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Encouraging Children to Memorize Scripture

Like most pre-schoolers, my children seem to be able to memorize effortlessly. They can hear a silly rhyme or song once and sing it days later. Many of their favorite stories are memorized word for word! They also absorb Bible verses quickly but that memorization seems to be dependent on their mom's consistency or lack thereof! We've learned verses very sporadically the last couple years.

Conventional Bible memory always seems laborious. Read a line, repeat it again and again, then move to the next line for more of the same until finally the whole verse is memorized. Several times the past months, I read of a different (to me) method of Bible memory. Instead of line by line, a small passage of Scripture is read all together. No progress is seen the first several days, but with consistent repeating of the passage the child will learn verses with more fluent recall then normal methods. At least, this is what the writer claimed.

I decided to try it as an experiment. Since this was back at the beginning of December, I chose the Christmas story in Luke 2. I really lack discipline and consistency in such areas but I was determined to read this passage every day for a month. The first couple days the children were excited to hear the story. Then I began hearing “We read this yesterday, let's read something else!” But soon they got the idea that we were going to do this daily and they began to remind me if I forgot! I would sometimes stop and explain a word they didn't know, such as “haste” or “glory”.

After the first week, I had it memorized myself which made it easy to quote when driving or other activity. I really didn't know if the children were actually learning the passage and wondered if I chose too many verses at one time. But on about the third week, I overheard one of them looking at a Bible story book and quoting a few of the verses almost word perfect. By the end of the month, the three and four year old could say the verses about the shepherd alone. They never did get the first verses about the taxation but for the small bit of time and effort it took me each day to say these verses, I certainly was pleased with the result.

This month, I chose a much shorter passage, Psalm 1. The children like adding some hand motions to this chapter and even the one year old is enjoying it. I'm excited about how quickly and effortlessly they are learning verses with the investment of only a couple minutes every day.

I thought I'd share it for any of you other young moms who want to teach Scripture, especially the pre-reading child. This is one area that I feel that we moms can have an impact on our children's lives for as long as they live. But if you are like me, it is easy to be so busy fulfilling all the physical needs of a home and children that it can be pushed aside.

If you have any other good ideas on memorizing verses, I'd love to hear them!


  1. Good idea. O is supposed to be learning psalm 91 for Sunday School. We've got the first two verses down - they're doing two verses a week in Sunday School. But, maybe we'll try the whole thing over and over - and see if we get better results. For trying to remember to read it to the children, I've been trying to do it at mealtimes. Of course, I forgot all day yesterday, but I remembered the whole week last week!! *L*

  2. I am going to a bible study on saturdays and I am supposed to
    teach the children with a friend of mine. I was working on Psalm 5 for us to study but know I know what else I'm going to do! I will try it ('cause there are a lot of children) for a month, then tell you how it worked out:)


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