I recently posted about our system for making a memorization box to keep up with the children’s Bible memory work and Becky had this question:
I would love to read a post on your memorization: what verses do you/have you memorized (and at what ages?). Also what literary pieces (poems, etc.) are your kids memorizing?
Do you have a list (or could you post a list) of recommended memorization for toddlers/preschool age children?
I wish that I had a better answer for you, but we have not set out a long term plan for our children’s memory work. We just add new passages as we master the older ones and try to work on memorization daily. We have picked some passages because they are meaningful to us and others that speak to areas of behavior or thought where our children are struggling. I keep cards of passages that we want to memorize at the beginning of our memorization box.
The first passage that we teach to our children is Proverbs 1:7-9. We attempt choose several longer passages because they seem to be easier to remember than many separate, single verses. We begin expecting them to participate in our memorization work as soon as they are able to talk. Don’t be afraid of longer passages for little kids, they are amazing memory machines. Here are some of our other starting passages:
- Psalm 119:105
- Psalm 19
- Phil. 2:1-18
- II Timothy 3:16-17
- Deuteronomy 6:4-9
- Ephesians 6:1-13
- Isaiah 55:6-7
- Proverbs 16:24
- Romans 6:23
- Proverbs 18:9
- Romans 6:23
- Psalm 23
- Psalm 1
I’m going to stop there. You get the idea.
We have enjoyed God Our Provider, Great in Counsel and Mighty in Deed, and other Cd’s from the Harrow Family. These Cd’s are Bible verses put to music. They are well done with pleasant music and have made it very simple for the children to memorize some longer passages of scripture without even trying. They do use different versions of the Bible for different passages, so just be aware of that.
We also learn a Psalm a month by singing it during our family worship. Ideally we sing the Psalm at every meal, but it seems that we generally end up falling back into just singing it during our family worship in the evening. We use The Book of Psalms for Singing.
Jamie Soles, one of our favorite musicians, has produced three albums of Psalms set to music. These are some of our favorites for memorizing. You may view all of Jamie’s albums and listen to samples here.
We have all of our children memorize the Catechism for Young Children and prefer for them to be finished by the time they are 5 or 6 so that they can begin on the Shorter Catechism. The catechisms are easy for them to memorize because of the question/answer format. We adapt the Catechism for Young Children a bit because they will be memorizing the Shorter Catechism and some of the questions are the same, but with different answers, so we teach the longer answers the first time so as not to confuse them. (Check out those catechism links, I didn’t know that they were available free online!)
You can see in our schedule that we have a separate time for our little ones to work on the catechism. Then we work on our memorization box with everyone at the breakfast table and the little ones get a little one-on-one memory time when I teach them their reading. We encourage our older children to spend some time memorizing on their own during their daily Bible reading time.
We learn each passage by repeating it out loud together. The children are encouraged to say it aloud even if they don’t know it all yet. When the children are younger, I say it with them and then stop and let them say some key words by themselves. As they learn the passage, I let them say more and more of it on their own. We do not spend much time on any one passage. We simply say it aloud between one and three times each day.
As far as literary pieces and poems, we have not spent much time on those. Remember this post? In it I explain some of the reasons behind the decisions that we make everyday. We are trying to choose the very best things to spend our time on and so have concentrated on scripture to this point. Poems are something that I see being incorporated as our children’s Biblical knowledge becomes more comprehensive. Our children do enjoy memorizing many things for fun and of course we encourage that.
Work a little bit each day and it is amazing what you can accomplish over the years. Also realize that our family doesn’t always accomplish all of this everyday. It is our goal, but we frequently fall short and when we do we just keep working where we left off.
We have done some fun Bible memory competitions with the children. We divided them into two groups readers and non-readers and then whoever memorized the most verses in the designated time earned a gift certificate to Vision Forum.
I have some more reader questions that I hope to get to in the next few days. If you have a post idea or question feel free to email me using the form on the Contact page.