Friday, September 13, 2013

7 Tips for Helping Kids Memorize Scripture

Back when we spent a month discussing spiritual disciplines on the blog, Helene had an excellent post about memorization.  At the time, I had not done very many memory verses with my children, partly because I just didn't think of it, and partly because I thought it would be too hard to do since they couldn't read yet. Well, as iron sharpens iron, Helene spurred me on to be more proactive in my childrens' Biblical education.  Do you know what I found out?  It isn't that hard.  Once again, I'm going to share tips for what worked for us, and I'd love for you to share with me what has worked for you!

Start small.  If your kids aren't used to memorization, don't make their first task to learn Psalm 23 in one day! Choose a verse or two and don't worry about how long it takes to learn them. With my 5 and 6 year old, we were able to do 1-3 verses per week.

Use many learning styles.   Since my children are young, we are still learning which styles suit them best.  Because my daughter can read and write, I taped the verse to the dining wall so she could see it every day.  While we sat at the table, we read it together over and over.  I also had her write it down with pretty ink pens.  In that way, we used visual, auditory, and a little kinesthetic learning.  Even my son, who can't read yet, found the written verse helpful to remind him what the next word started with. Helene has even used pictures to help her pre-reader know what comes next.  

Break it into chunks.  Instead of trying to help your child memorize all of John 3:16 on one day, start with "For God so loved the world that he gave his only son." That's enough for one day if he can really get it down.  The next day you can add "that whoever believes in him."  By the end of day two or three, he should be able to say two chunks together.  Keep adding chunks until the verse is learned.

Repetition is the key.  However you determine your child learns best, the only way to memorize something is to repeat it over and over again.  For my pre-reader, I just had him repeat those small chunks over and over after me until he had them down.  

Remember that each child learns at their own pace.  My daughter is no dummy, but it takes her a little bit longer to learn the verses than it does my son. My sweet girl does not do anything quickly, including memorize.  That's okay.  I never pressure her by comparing her to her brother.  It would not be fair.

Base your Bible story of the day around your memory verse.  For instance, when we memorized "Children obey your parents in the Lord for this is right," we talked about how David obeyed his father in taking care of the sheep and taking food to his brothers on the battlefield.  The more connections a child makes about the Bible, the better.  

Don't forget the application. It does no good to teach a child a verse if she can't apply it to her daily life.  If you memorize "Be kind to one another," talk to your kids about what it means to be kind and how they can show kindness to their friends and family. Get specific!  If you see them behaving in an unkind way, don't forget to point them back to the verse they memorized when you are dealing with the problem.  You may even be surprised when they can use Scripture when you mess up!

If you are having trouble deciding which verses to memorize, simply google "memory verse." I came up with these four sites quickly.  

Each time you start a new verse, review the old verse first.  I reviewed the old ones over at least six weeks over the summer to help them stick

As I finish this post, I think it is only fair to tell you that we are struggling with memorization right now.  During summer vacation, we did great!  We memorized a verse or three per week, and the kids remembered them all summer long.  Now that school has started back, I'm having a hard time finding the time to include Bible memorization with all our other responsibilities.  Yet I know that nothing is more important for my children, so I'm not giving up.  I'm considering car time and right before bed for Bible time.  If anyone with kids in public school has any suggestions, I'd love to hear them!
- See more at:

No comments:

Post a Comment