Reading scriptures in your primary class may be a difficult task, especially since the language may be difficult for younger students to grasp. But with consistency and some guidelines in mind, you can not only make the process go more smoothly, but help your Primary children understand and appreciate the scriptures now and in the future.
Encourage Parents to Help
The basis of learning comes from examples and practice at home, so if you have not had a chance to really talk to your students’ parents about their child, you may want to do so. One thing to briefly discuss is whether or not their child is using or helping with reading the scriptures at home.
I say “briefly” because you really should be tactful about it. Instead of giving any indication of a guilt trip in case they are not reading the scriptures together at home, for example, try to emphasize how reading the scriptures at home together will help their child understand more in class.
And if it would be easier, you could also just send little typed notes with your child to give to their parent/parents on the importance of reading scriptures together, along with an updated list of scriptures you studied for that week.
Read Aloud to Them With Preliminary Questions
It is always important to set up children’s minds for learning, so if you are going to read a scripture, ask them a question about that scripture first, so that they will be more attentive through the reading in search of the answer.
Then, read through the scripture with a clear voice (while trying to keep the tone interesting, but not too dramatic). When you have finished, ask who found the answer to the question and discuss. If you feel that no one really understood the scripture, then read on…
Take a Break
As adults, we sometimes need breaks when reading longer texts in order to give our minds a rest and review what we have read in order to understand and remember it. The same goes for children as well, but, as you may know, their attention spans are much smaller than ours.
When reading to Primary children, it is important to read the scripture through once to get a feel for it (provided that it isn’t too long) and then read it through again, only this time, pause after each sentence, idea, phrase, or wherever it may be suitable in order to talk about the scripture, ask open questions, etc.
There are some questions provided in the manual, but if you would like to ask additional questions, a suggestion is to ask those that will bring out the children’s opinions, or even what they liked or disliked about the scripture instead of those that need specific answers since the prior proves to encourage more discussion and thought in the classroom setting.
Visuals during a lesson are so important because they are so effective! Whenever possible, bring visual aids to help children picture what is happening in the story. During your breaks in the readings, you may want to take this opportunity to present your pictures or visual aids and ask questions about them.
Build Off Their Existing Knowledge
We learn by building new knowledge off of existing knowledge. So when reading scriptures, you may want to choose a scripture and ask the children which words they can identify and what they mean.
Then, ask them which words they don’t know and you can help them take guesses as to what these words might mean. Once you have identified all the words, slowly put it all together until you feel that the meaning of the scripture is made fairly clear.
If there are words that they know but that have different endings on them, or even words that we don’t commonly use in our language, explain that these are part of the special language that the scriptures use and that this language helps us identify the scriptures.
You can even ask them if they have a special language that they use with their family or friends and ask to give examples. Then, explain that the prophets did the same thing with their language and that the more we read the scriptures, the more we will be able to use and understand the prophets’ language.
There may be a lot to remember when reading scriptures with Primary children. To make it a little easier, you may want to take on one tip at a time until you feel you have it down. And remember to have fun with it! If you have any additional ideas, please, we want to hear them! So be sure to post them in our forum at Bella Online.