I loved hearing one of the first-graders asking, “Can I say the verses by myself? I know them.” This child proceeded to say the verses as we were waiting in the bus line at dismissal time. And she knew them better than the teacher did!
This year in our school Bible memory program, we are learning passages from the book of John. Grades 1-12 learn the same scripture during a two-week period and are tested at the end of that time. First through third graders recite the verses for their tests and are expected to say them word for word. There is one point per word, so with 101 words, Test 4 has 101 points, for example. Grades 4 – 12 write the passage on a sheet that has a blank for each word. They also take a review test from the previous passage and are given about one-third of the words for the review test.
We compile Bible memory books in the summer and send a book to each family with the beginning of year mailing. We give each student a book the first day of school and they keep this book to use in practicing at school. We encourage families to use their home books to work on the scripture memorization at home, as a family. Learning the Bible verses is part of my students’ homework.
We try to practice the verses each day at school, and have found that first-graders can succeed in learning the scriptures. I think they sometimes do better than the older students! Many of my students receive 100% on their tests.
I collected from parents and teachers some ideas for practicing Bible memory and share them here:
Bible Memory Ideas
- Study with a partner:
- Study with a sibling, parent, classmate, friend on the bus…
- Say the verses to each other.
- Practice it as a family at the supper table, while waiting for the bus, at family devotions, at bedtime, etc. If one child needs more help, give them the help and let the other children listen in. It will help them, too!
- Start at the first verse and go over it until everyone knows it, then move on to the next verse. Combine the two verses and practice that, then add the next verse, and so on.
- Try to learn a verse each day, then take the last few days of the two-week period to brush up. The children study alone for 5-10 minutes each night (sometimes for more time than this, so that on busy nights they can skip it.)
- Make sure the children understand what the verses mean.
- Say the passage twice every morning before the bus comes and again in evening devotions. Keep at it consistently, rather than trying to cram it in the last evening.
- Go over it every day. Have a child repeat it after the parent or say it together.
- Repetition, repetition, repetition! Use any time the family is together to practice, if only for five minutes.
- Some try to have the first half memorized in the first week and that helps keep them on top of it, with time to review.
- Draw pictures to show the verses and give clues to the words and phrases.
- Create motions to go with the verses.
Below, watch the first grade’s Bible memory video! We record each passage as we’re reciting it and doing the motions that we have planned as a class. I post the video, which is mainly of me, in my Google Photos Bible Memory album and share the link with parents, so they can use the video at home. One day an older student informed me, “I studied with you last night!” because their family used the video to help in memorization!
- Print the scripture on a 4×6 index card. Each child has a card at their place at the table and they can read it while they eat, and see the scripture right in front of them. (Just like Deuteronomy 6 says in teaching God’s Word!) Each child also has a card by their bed to go over the verses at bedtime.
- Use a clear vinyl tablecloth with the cards under the vinyl. Mom and Dad have a card by them, as well, so everyone can learn the verses.
CONTRIBUTOR: Arlene Birt