Bible Verse Routines for 1st and 2nd Graders

Memorizing scripture is an important and meaningful activity for kids (and adults!) of all ages!  I blogged a while back about the routines I use with my preschoolers... (SPOILER ALERT: yes, 3 and 4 year olds CAN and DO memorize Bible verses!)

Today, let's talk about what those Bible verse routines look like for older kids who are no longer emerging readers.  Some of the strategies are similar, and others are different.  Here's a look at how I help 1st and 2nd graders memorize Bible verses.

Read the Verse with Motions

I set up our Bible verse white cards in our pocket chart.

We start by reading the Bible verse together as I point to the words.

As we are reading, I have them do motions for the verse.  They don't have to do motions for every word, but I try to have at least 3 motions for every verse.  The motions help the kids attach the verse to movement which helps them remember the verse more easily!  I have suggestions for motions for each unit verse in my Bible unit curriculum!

Match the Color Word Cards

Depending on your first and second graders, you may or may not need to do this.  I have found that we start this way at the beginning of the first grade year, and end up skipping it by the second half of the year.  If your kids struggle reading, match the cards.  If they are reading independently, you can move on past this!

After we read the verse once, I pass out the color words to some card per kid.  I call one kid up at a time.  They read the word (or I help them read it) and find it's match.

After each kid puts a word match in, we re-read the verse with the motions.  So, not only are we working on matching and reading words, but we are repeating the verse and committing it to memory in a fun and engaging way!

Sequence the Verse

If most of your kids are able to read, you can skip the matching and do the sequencing routines instead.  To sequence, I start by passing out one card to each kid.  Then, I ask, "Who has the word 'The'" and kids bring up their cards one at a time.  

After each card, we read the cards we have, predict the next word, and I ask who has that word card.  We continue this way until we have sequenced the entire verse!

Later, when this becomes easy for kids (especially for 2nd graders), you can give each kid a word card and have them work together to sequence the Bible verse without your help!

TPR Reading

Once we have all of the words matched, we read with Total Physical Response (TPR).  This is my kids' favorite part!  We do some motion on each of the words.  The first one we do is, "Let's clap on each word."  Then, we say the verse and clap on each word.

Depending on time, we usually do about 5-7 repetitions of this with different actions each time.  The actions we've used are....
Pat Your Leg
Touch Your Nose and Whisper
Bear Claws on the Ground and Growl
Stomp Your Feet

Independent Matching

This last part of the routine is only done on the last day of the unit.  The other weeks, we just read, match, and TPR read.  The last week, we only do the independent matching.

Each kid gets a white paper with a space to sequence the Bible verse and word cards copied on colored paper.  My first and second grade units come with two handout options:  One is like shown below with the Bible verse on it and one does not have the verse on it.  I pick the one that best fits my kids' abilities.

After we read or say the verse, the kids sequence the word cards by cutting and pasting.

These routines are quick, easy and an engaging and effective way to help young learners hide God's Word in their hearts!  You can find all of these routines and materials in each of my Bible Units!

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