By Shelly Harris
It’s a new church year. It’s exciting to watch our new first graders enter the children’s wing and settle into a new routine with new, wonderful leaders. First grade is a year full of growth and change. And it’s a year of learning new skills including Bible skills. Here are three key steps to developing Bible skills with 1st graders.
1. Give kids a full text Bible. (Or provide them in your classrooms.)
First graders are learning to read, and excitement is high for many of them. One of the most amazing things our church has committed to is providing each 1st grader with a full text Bible. The kids are given their Bibles and recognized during the church service. This allows kids to see the value our church places on Scripture. And it allows the adults in our congregation to be actively involved in helping kids develop their own relationship with God through His Word. As the year progresses, it is great to see boys and girls bring their Bibles to church week after week.
2. Introduce the table of contents.
Once you memorize the books of the Bible and become familiar with finding them, it can be easy to forget about the table of contents. But for kids, memorizing the books and applying that knowledge to finding the books takes time. Teaching kids how to navigate the table of contents is the first step to teaching kids how to locate Bible books. Write the name of the book you are looking for on a dry erase board and help kids learn how to scan the list of book names to find the matching one.
3. Practice finding a Bible book.
Once we become more confident and adapt at reading the table of contents, we move on to finding specific Bible books. I prefer to choose the book that our Bible story for the day is from, and we focus on helping every kid find that book. Most kids prefer to find the first page of the book, but I consider finding any page of that Bible book as success. Then, we practice putting our Bible book ribbon in that spot. When everyone has found the book, I share the Bible story."As the year progresses it will be an absolute joy to watch 1st graders become more confident in how to navigate God’s Word." – Shelly Harris Click To Tweet
Finally, don’t forget to be patient. Like all skills, Bible skills need to be practiced over and over. Mastering any skill doesn’t take place the first time you introduce it. But as the year progresses it will be an absolute joy to watch 1st graders become more confident in how to navigate God’s Word and begin to read some simple verses.
Shelly Harris serves as a Content Editor for Lifeway Kids. She is a graduate of Murray State University and the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. As a former kids minister, Shelly is passionate about equipping the church to share the gospel and disciple kids. She currently serves as a Kids Ministry Coordinator at The Church at Station Hill in Spring Hill, TN.