Friday, November 16, 2007

Mohler's Advice on Reading Bible Stories to Children

In a follow-up post, Al Mohler recommends Catherine Vos's classic Bible story book for older children, The Child's Story Bible.

He also offers "a few suggestions for maximizing the reading experience for school-age children." I'll post the outline here--for more, read the whole thing.

1. Read at a specific time set as part of the ritual of the child's life.

2. Read in a clear voice and avoid both excessive drama and a lifeless reading.

3. When reading a Bible story, help the child to find the actual text of the account in the pages of the Bible.

5. Recognize that many of the stories of the Bible teach a clear moral lesson -- a lesson that children clearly need to learn and take to heart. At the same time, recognize that these accounts are never merely morality tales. Point your child to the big picture.

6. Never read down to your children, treating them as dull. Instead, give them a substantial story, lay out the narrative, and then trust that they will want to learn and to push themselves toward understanding. Then, be the human agent of that understanding by explaining the story with patience, creativity, and insight based in the fact that you know both the story and the child or children hearing it.

7. Be as honest as the Bible in revealing the strengths and weaknesses of God's people.

8. Ask your children questions about the story to measure understanding, and make sure to see if they have any questions.

9. Ask older children to help with the reading and to grow accustomed both to reading for themselves and to reading aloud.

10. Finally, teach them to pray the Scriptures, talking about the story just read and its biblical text as you pray. Pray that God will apply His Word to their hearts, thank God for His Word and for His love, remind them of Christ and His promises, and entrust them to God for the night and for eternity.