Thursday, October 2, 2014

Memory Verse Routine that Works!

(or Raisins and Verses Time)

Of course, I think my grandkids are amazing! But so are their parents! I'm thrilled to have my daughter-in-law, Abby Fleming, explain how she is currently getting their two little ones to memorize scripture.

My Inspiration
My kids are smarter than I am. Well, they have a better memory at least. It's always amazing to me what they can remember. Can you relate to any of these?

  • Mommy, yesterday at lunch you said that I could have a special treat today!”
  • When reading a favorite book, “Wait, you didn't read that right. You skipped some words.”
  • After her second ever Veggie Tales, “and now it's time for silly songs with Larry...”
  • Any kind of slightly annoying kids' songs are engrained in their little minds after only one or two times of listening to them!
  • Potty songs, anyone??

Even before I had kids, I knew that I wanted to take this uncanny ability of theirs to remember EVERYTHING and use it for something beneficial to them... memory verses. This decision was inspired by two families.

I worked in an Awana Club with the first family when I was back in high school. For those of you who don't know, Awana is a children's club with a huge emphasis on Bible memorization. It's a great program, but at the time I didn't fully understand how important it was that the children were memorizing Bible verses. At a leadership meeting one night, we were discussing whether we ought to include more “fun” things in lieu of some of the memory verse time. I was all for it, but the Mom of this family disagreed with me. She talked about how her children were like sponges, soaking up everything and how she wanted to use this time in their lives to help them soak up as many Bible verses as they could hold. The value she placed on this was contagious.

Later, when I was working my first teaching job, a fellow teacher invited my husband and I to his home for a family dinner. At the time, he had two very young children. After dinner, they told us that they needed to practice their family memory verses together. I was sitting there expecting something to the extent of “God is love” when they started reciting the entire chapter of Genesis One (motions included)!! I was blown away at what they could do at such young ages. I was also inspired to higher my expectations for my kids one day.

How we made it work
Today, I am “Mommy” to a 3 year old daughter and a 1 ½ year old son. After several hiccups and failed attempts, we have come to a memory verse routine that works well for us. I hope it can help you find a system that works for you!

The first thing we did was buy a highly recommended CD, “Hide 'em in Your Heart” by Steve Green. It is a CD composed entirely of verses set to music, but in a kid friendly (and amazingly not annoying to parents) way. There's just something about music that can help our minds remember things. I decided to use this to help my daughter memorize the verses on the CD. After owning and listening to it for a while, we started practicing. Our practicing revolves around three words: consistent, rewarded and relaxed.

Consistent. I established a certain time every day when we practice our memory verses. For us, it's in the morning right after breakfast, while we are still at the table. We break her verse down into very small phrases (2-4 words) and repeat them to her with the same exact intonation every time. Then, she repeats the phrase back to us until she can do it on her own. The next day, we review what she already knows and pick up practicing where we left off. Now that she's used to it, she can usually add a new phrase on every day or two.

Rewarded. We all need some sort of motivation, and our kids are no different. We've somehow convinced our daughter that raisins are a special treat, so that is our token bribery... I mean reward. We actually call it “Raisins and Verses Time” now. When she first started, we would line up the raisins, one for each word, and she could eat them as she said the words. Now, we break it up into two piles of raisins. First, she says all her previously learned verses, we give her lots and lots of praise, and she eats her first pile of raisins. Then, we work on her new verse, sometimes reinforcing the phrase she learned yesterday, sometimes adding a new phrase, always with lots of praise.

Relaxed. We've learned that our daughter learns her verses much quicker and happier if we keep it a fun and relaxed time. There is no pressure. Sometimes, she gets on a roll and can do a new phrase every day. Sometimes, we take a week on a two word phrase. There is no rush. No one is keeping score. We're thrilled for every verse she can hide in that little heart of hers.

With this routine, our daughter has learned 6 good sized verses and is now working on the Lord's Prayer. It's not quite Genesis 1, but we're pretty proud of her!

I mentioned I have a 1 ½ year old son too. He can't talk much yet, but he was feeling a little left out during “Raisins and Verses Time” and very jealous that she was getting extra raisins. So, he now has his own verse that he tries to say every day, too. One day, it will sound like “God is love”, but for now it sounds more like, “Dg!! La!”. He gets a couple raisins and lots of praise, and he gives us a big grin. It's a pretty good trade off.

I hope you can use this to find a system that works for you!!  

Abby Fleming graduated from Emmaus Bible College with a Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education and Biblical Studies. Also at Emmaus, she met and married Daniel Fleming. They have been married 8 years now and have a beautiful 3 year old daughter, Anna, and a handsome 22 month old son, Kenneth. After the birth of their daughter, Abby and Daniel decided together that she could work as a full time Mommy. Currently, Abby and her husband are living in the Chicago area as he works full time and pursues further education.

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  1. Loving this post! Thank you so much for linking up at Mom's Library this week. I'll be featuring this post at Meaningful Mama. I hope you'll be there again this week.

  2. This was a fun post to read and watch. What good advice you gave.

    1. As grandma, I have come back and watched these videos several times! I'm glad others have enjoyed my grandkids too!

  3. We used the GT and the Hale Express CD's for our sons. The verses are sung to music that made it fun as it wasn't sing song like some tapes I've listened to before. I still love them.

    1. I think we had that when our kids were little. And the Steve Green CD is on a second generation now!



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