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Reply to "Creative Ways to Read and Discuss the Bible with Children"


In his book "Teach Like a Champion", author-researcher Doug Lemov shares his research into what separates great teachers from the rest. His conclusions are based on his observations and interviews with teachers whom other teachers had identified as "great."

In the course of his research, he found that "great teachers" lead great reading sessions.

Examples of the Reading Session Techniques of Great Teachers:

  • "Great Teachers" often RANDOMLY PICK "who's going to read next" because it makes every student pay attention thinking they may be next.
  • "Great Teachers" teach difficult vocab and pronunciations BEFORE the reading so students don't stumble during it, and their stumbles don't break the train of the passage and other children's thought.
  • When students and teachers read together out loud, champion teachers….
    • Provide background on what students are about to read.
    • Provide “context” for the story (such as historical context)
    • Decode difficult vocabulary before reading it. (This helps in pronunciation too).
    • Outline the story and identify key concepts before reading.
    • Pose questions about the text ahead of time for students to consider as they are reading.
What strikes me is how many Sunday School teachers typically do the OPPOSITE.  They usually just:

  • Dive in with no explanation or background. "Open your Bibles to... and let's start reading at...."
  • They wait until a student stumbles before helping them learn a word.
  • They wait until the reading is OVER to tell students what’s important to remember, or what questions they will be asking about the passage.
  • They play a cat & mouse game of “do you know what I know.” Asking questions to see who paid attention, without telling the students ahead of time what to pay attention to!

<>< Neil

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