This year I’m teaching ages 5-8 at a private LDS school here in Cache Valley. It is very important to me that we read from the scriptures often as these are the tender ages before the age of accountability. I feel that if children can gain a love for the scriptures in these early and teachable years, it will stay with them forever.
Before my children could read I’d tell them scripture stories at night as they held their scriptures near their hearts. When scared, they were more comforted by holding their scriptures than their stuffed animals.
In our school and family scripture study we mark special passages as we come across them. The older ones help the younger ones mark. This makes it more meaningful and personalized to them. For those that can’t read we help them find passages by page numbers. If they can’t do that then we find the page for them and help them underline or color the correct passage and then we read and discuss it together. With inexpensive copies of the scriptures (about $2.00 at church distribution) the children can practice marking passages special to them. There is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to do it. They can color the names of the books with different colored pencils, make small drawings of special characters in the margins, highlight all the words that Jesus spoke, or simply color what they are feeling as the read the passage.
Another suggestion is to have little people, characters, chess pieces or cut-outs that represent the people that we are talking about. As I read, a child places the object (or person) in the proper place. As certain groups are destroyed we take them off the table. This part has really helped the children visualize both the events taking place and understand the reality of the people we are reading about. They are also more engaged in the story-line and anxious to know what happens next.
In my own personal scripture study I often draw a small heart above passages that discuss the condition of the heart. This simple visual reminds me to think about the condition of my own heart and the consequences of such.
How blessed we are to have the scriptures and to be able to really sup from their pages. As we truly learn from their messages our lives are blessed and our hearts are changed.