SOME CREATIVE WAYS TO READ THE BIBLE WITH KIDS
Here are some "techniques" I have used to liven up the reading of scripture. You could summarize all these under the heading of "Reading Doesn't Mean Sitting Still."
1. Props! A few simple props to show or pass to the next reader can do a sneaky job of creating anticipation and focusing attention. Something as simple as a costume or headwrap helps make the reading fun and content stick. I will sometimes bring in action figures to pass around and represent the characters. ("Spiderman Jesus" was probably my favorite.) The simple presence of those figures made the kids enjoy the reading and discussion so much more.
2. Assign roles! When the story warrants it, I will assign kids to 'do the lines' for various characters. We'll talk about "what voice" and some "body language" to add to the reading. Invariably we'll have to do it twice because they enjoy switching roles and getting into character.
3. Look to the Workshop's MEDIA for your inspiration!
- If I'm in the Art Workshop, we might draw the scene as we read it, or mold it with playdough. (Draw this, read, add that, read more, etc.)
- If I'm in the Game Workshop we might spin a spinner to assign reading parts.
- If I'm in the Drama Workshop we might have the kids "show us your freeze face reaction" to certain lines read in the scripture.
- If I'm in the computer workshop we'll look to see the scripture on the screen.
- If I'm in the Music workshop we might practice saying/rapping/singing the verses with a beat.
- If I'm in the "Story" Workshop I'd invite a storyteller to deliver the scripture.
- If I'm in the "Construction" workshop, we might give kids a pile of legos, assign verses and have them build the keyword in their verse before reading it and showing their keyword to the class.
4. Mr. Microphone! I've mentioned this in several posted lessons --that kids love to speak into a microphone. So I will sometimes bring in my microphone and small guitar amplifier. We pass the microphone between speakers. God's voice is always the one they have fun with. That microphone creates focus, attention, goodwill, and quite a bit of fun.
5. Set up the Scene and Act It Out! Example: For "man let down through the roof," we made a square of our tables, sat on the table tops -sitting on the blanket stretched across the opening in the middle of the tables we had created. The kids knew what was coming and focused like crazy. We read the second part of that story UNDERNEATH the tables. Use the story's setting to help you think about what you can do while they read with you.
6. Use a Computer! A lot of software programs have the Bible story fully presented in them. A lot of other teaching media puts the scripture in the FRONT PART of the lesson for 10 minutes, then the lesson plan moves past the scripture to start up an activity "about" the scripture. Whereas, software, such as my Good Sam the Samaritan CD, puts the story scripture AT THE CENTER OF THE LESSONS FOR A LONG PERIOD OF TIME. You can also have the kids RECORD their voices into the computer, or TYPE the verses into a fun program like "Let's Talk" which will read what they type in a computer voice.
7. Read in Voices After doing a straight reading, assign 'characters' or verses, and then discuss "what creative voice" they could read their verse in. Creative Voices help kids REMEMBER and its instructive to discuss which voice fits the characters or lines of scripture. Fun ones to use: The Hulk, Rapper Drake, Choir Voice, The Presidential Voice, Surfer Dude, Whisper Girl. Ask your kids. They'll know.
8. LIP SYNC & MIME LINES Invite pairs of students to prepare then come forward --one slowly reading the passage, while the other acts it out, ...mimes, lip syncs what the reader is saying. This is especially effective where there is one person, like Jesus, who is doing the talking, or where there's action to be acted.
Hope this gives you a start.
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