"Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it." Proverbs 22:6
As a first grade teacher, my job was to make sure the children learned how to read. Our class wrote on the board, read through books, and colored worksheets, but one of my students wasn't understanding it. I decided to send him home with a cassette tape featuring songs about all of the vowel sounds, and he quickly became one of my top readers.
All children have their own learning language. Some kids learn things by seeing them in books, others by drawing pictures; still others remember a good story read aloud. "A person's learning style affects the way they understand and organize information," says Cynthia Tobias, author of The Way They Learn. "It helps us decide what makes sense and what's important. As parents and educators begin to do their homework, they realize just how unique and wonderful each child really is."
So why not tap into these strengths when teaching the Bible? Tobias agrees it's essential if we want our children to understand who God is. "There's no better use of learning styles than when we are teaching our children about their Designer and Creator. We know Him personally, and the more we learn about Him through His Word, the more we realize the truth of Psalm 139, 'we are fearfully, wonderfully and complexly made.'" Below are four of the most common learning styles, along with fun Bible learning activities. There are some great ways to connect your child to God, using his or her own unique style.
The Visual/Verbal Learning Style
These students do best when presented with information in a written language format, such as books or words written on the board. Information makes more sense to them when it is presented in an outline or in sequential format.
- Be sure to pick up a variety of picture books that retell Bible stories.
- Pick up a blank journal and let your child create his own book recounting God's Word.
- Have your child memorize the books of the Bible by writing them in order.
The Visual/Nonverbal Learning Style
This type of learner likes information portrayed in a creatively visual representation. She or he benefits from watching movies or visual aids and tends to be artistic, responding well to maps and charts.
- Purchase or rent movies that depict the Gospel message on video. Two of my favorites are McGee and Me and VeggieTales.
- Help your child shoot a home movie featuring his favorite Bible story.
- When teaching a lesson from the Word, have your child color the area on a map where the event takes place.
The Tactile/Kinesthetic Learning Style
These learners like engaging in "hands-on" activities and benefit when they can be tangibly involved. It's important for them to manipulate materials and to get outside of a classroom environment.
- Allow your child to copy Bible verses down for memorization using colorful jelly pens or markers, then cut each word out and mix them up on the floor. Have your child put the verse back in order.
- Make homemade finger paint and have your child write out scripture portions with it.
- Try teaching your child memory verses using sign language.
The Auditory/Verbal Learning Style
This group of pupils needs to hear information. It benefits from listening to information through CDs and oral presentations. Children with this learning style will also enjoy interacting with other people to talk about lessons learned.
- Purchase the Bible on CD and play during free time or at night before bed.
- Read a biblical account together and then discuss it at breakfast.
- Help your child sing Bible verses for memorization.
You may want to try each of these activities until you discover your child's unique learning style. In time your child will appreciate the many ways he can hide the Word of God in his heart and retain further knowledge of the Creator.