One of my favorite passages of scripture is found in Psalm 78. I would call these passages my "life verses" if I had to pick. They speak of the importance of passing down the truth and wonder of God to the next generation, something I have always had a passion for.
We will not hide them from their children, but will declare to the next generation the praises of the LORD and His might, and the wonders He has performed. that the coming generation would know them- even children yet to be born- to arise and tell their own children that they should put their confidence in God, not forgetting His works, but keeping His commandments.
Sharing scripture with our children is one of the most important things we can do as parents. We started scripture memory work when my children were around three years old. I began by choosing short passages of scripture, paired them with some made-up hand motions or a little tune, and repeated them every day until they confidently said the passages. As older children now, they love memorizing scripture and have many, many passages hidden in their hearts. It’s one of the best gifts we can give our children.
Practicing the skill of memory work is great for children (and adults). Memorizing things like poetry, hymns, and scripture helps train the brain to be receptive to remembering things, boosts confidence, and gives the memorizer a gift they can keep within their hearts far past the time of doing the hard work of memorizing. I have found that my children are much more quick to memorize than my husband or me; they are always amazing us with the amount they can memorize in a short period of time!
Here are 7 tips I have found that are helpful in teaching scripture memory:
1. Choose passages that mean something to you and your child.
Over the last few years we have memorized the scriptures from the family devotional that we used and loved twice (Our 24 Family Ways by Clay Clarkson). Each week, we focused on one passage of scripture, and each morning we discussed different elements of what the passage means and how we apply it to our lives. Before using that devotional, I just chose verses that spoke to me or that addressed a certain heart attitude or area of interest for my child. Talk about the scripture in applicable situations that come up throughout the day and make it real to their lives. Make sure they understand the concepts in the scripture that they are memorizing. Don't overthink it, any passage of scripture is a good passage to memorize!
2. Choose passages that are age-appropriate.
For younger children, choose scriptures that are 1-2 sentences to start. Or choose a longer passage and chip away at it a little at a time. Use a Bible translation that you feel is appropriate for them to grasp. If you have multiple ages of children who are memorizing together, you could easily choose one passage and offer a shortened version to the younger ones.
3. Designate a certain time of day to work on scripture memory.
I recommend practicing your passages at least 5 days a week. It only takes a few minutes and consistency is really the key to long-term memory. For our family, we do this in the morning over breakfast Mondays through Fridays.
This year our family will be using Rooted Family Bible Curriculum, Volume One, an 18-week family Bible curriculum related to the themes of Identity, Devotion, and Wisdom. Each week of Rooted highlights a weekly scripture, and the daily lessons include a section of scripture recitation.
4. Sing the scripture.
Make up a catchy tune to go with the scripture you are learning or have your child do it. If you aren’t sure where to start, try memorizing verses that are already put to songs from artists like Steve Green or Seeds Family Worship.
5. Put hand motions to the scripture.
This doesn’t have to be super planned out or creative, just ask your child to help create motions for the main words in the passage when you first introduce it. If they help create the motions, they are more likely to recall it.
6. Use a review system and be consistent.
Honestly, without constantly reviewing the verses I have found that all the effort put into memorizing in the first place is wasted. I found an incredible, easy review system through Simply Charlotte Mason and it has worked so well for us. All you need is an index card holder, dividers, index cards, and a few minutes a day. Here is a link to the YouTube video explaining how it’s done.
7. Include the passages in their schoolwork.
If you homeschool, using scripture for copywork is a no-brainer! As they copy, they are practicing handwriting and spelling, but also getting that passage into their minds. I wanted to take it a step further though, so I created some fun interactive activities to give the kids extra practice with the passages that we were memorizing. I found these activities to be engaging and great for when they were first learning a passage or used for review after we had finished memorizing them.
After loving it in our own family, we designed it to be shared with you! Light the Way offers short activities that children can do each day of the week to reinforce memorization and application of the passage. We also included full-size display sheets of each verse so you can hang it up n your school area, and index cards of each verse for your Scripture Memory System or to put on a metal ring for reference. All scripture passages are offered in both NIV and ESV.
Interactive Scripture Activities
Light the Way includes hands-on, educational activities for each passage of scripture. This is what you will find for each scripture:
- Print and cursive copywork sheets - Children will copy the week’s verse in either print, cursive, or both. This practice improves proper spacing, penmanship, grammar, spelling, and punctuation skills. The set includes both primary and intermediate copywork lines.
- Cut and paste scramble activity - Children will cut out each phrase or word and then paste them in the correct order on the lines. Along with another method to practice memorization, this hands-on activity improves fine motor skills.
- Fill in the blank activity - Children will fill in the missing words in the verses from memory.
- Journal prompt sheet - Children will complete the sentence for scripture application and creative writing skills. After writing a sentence or more to complete the thought, they will illustrate. This will help solidify the scripture application to their minds and hearts.
Scripture Memory Themes
Each week of this Scripture Memory Set focuses on one faith-building theme. These themes and passages are the same passages referred to each week in the family devotional Our 24 Family Ways by Clay Clarkson. You can use the set alongside the devotional, but it also can be used without.
Here are all of the themes and passages you will find in Light the Way:
- Authorities- These scriptures focus on love and obedience to God, loving the Bible, honoring parents, and accepting discipline.
- Relationships- These scriptures concern God’s love, loving others, servanthood, encouraging others, and forgiveness.
- Possessions- These scriptures discuss thankfulness, contentment, generosity, and stewardship.
- Work- These scriptures concern diligence, initiative, teamwork, and responsibility.
- Attitudes- These scriptures focus on choosing joy, making peace, patience, and graciousness.
- Choices- These scriptures discuss making right choices, self-control, and truthfulness.