(from Appendix A of our Foundations Bible Curriculum)
Our tips for memorizing verses each day are based on the following principles:
- It’s easier to memorize a verse if you know what it means. That’s why we spend the first day of each week talking about what the verse means. Your children will illustrate the verse also, so you’ll know from their pictures if they truly understand it.
- It’s easier to memorize a verse if the verse is meaningful to you. Your job as mom is to help your children relate the verse to their own lives. What promise does it make, what advice should they follow, what sin will it help them overcome? Try to talk about the verse at other times during the day. Ask the Holy Spirit to apply it to all of your lives.
- It’s easier to memorize a verse if you use many of your senses to learn it. We use our eyes when we look at a verse visual, we use our arms and legs when we make up motions, we use our ears when we hear each other saying it together, and occasionally a verse is just the right kind to taste or smell something.
- It’s easier to memorize a verse if you repeat it many, many times. That’s why you should make it your goal to have everyone say the verse out loud at least five times each day. We’ll help you come up with ways to keep it from being boring, but you can always try shouting, whispering, singing, standing, marching, lying down, writing, drawing, telling it to Dad, and calling Grandma.
- It’s easier to memorize a verse if you say it with a “sing-songy” voice. Kids love this! For instance, try saying this verse, emphasizing the italicized words:
Psalm One-nine-teen Eleven
Thy word have I hid in my heart,
That I might not sin against thee.
Psalm One-nine-teen Eleven
Each day, recite the verse (including reference) as a group five times. As the week progresses, allow the children to say it more and more without dependence on your voice, until they can say it independently on Friday.
If you’re learning an extended passage of Scripture over many weeks, try to say the entire passage you’ve learned thus far at least once a day.
Before the week starts, take a moment to write the verse (using a Sharpie marker) on a spiral-bound set of 3×5 index cards. You will use this set of verses to review in coming weeks.
As a general rule, we stick to the following schedule:
Monday – Discuss what a verse means and illustrate it. Give your children sheets of card stock (for durability), and ask them to illustrate the verse. Later, you can use these drawings to review verses you’ve already memorized.
Tuesday – Write the verse. For primary children, you may give them worksheets from Appendix B. Preschool children will not write the verse, but you may want to have them point to letters or numbers in the verse. Save all written work on a clipboard or in their notebooks.
Wednesday – Make up motions. Obviously, some verses will be easier to come up with motions for than others, but you’ll be surprised how creative your kids can be! You’ll probably notice that they will use motions when they say it the rest of the week as well. That’s fine. Note: If it seems impossible to come up with motions, try stomping your feet in rhythm, clapping, or marching around the kitchen table as you say it – anything to get you up and moving!
Thursday – By now your kids should have nearly memorized the verse. Today is a good day for contests. “Everyone with blue eyes, say the verse.” “Everyone wearing green, say the verse.” Boys against girls, younger against older, etc.
Friday – Today, after saying the verse several times as a group, have each child say it individually. I often start with the oldest child so that the youngest ones can hear it a few more times. I also “help” the younger ones more than I do the older ones, who I expect to say it perfectly. You may wish to have a “verse recital” on Friday evenings at supper, where the kids can show Dad how well they’ve learned it and exhibit their drawings and writings. Make it memorable!
All of the above hints are helpful for other types of memorization as well, such as the Books of the Bible, or memory work in other subjects.