Dynamics of Encouraging Bible Reading in Children

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toddpedlar

Iron Dramatist
Hi all-

My wife and I have been talking about some practical issues of encouraging personal Bible study in our kids, and we have been working on getting our eight-year-old, who reads very well, to start her mornings with Mommy reading the Word like she does. Our second daughter, who's six and just starting to read, isn't quite where we'd expect her to be reading very much from her Bible (though she can read with reasonable comprehension, though quite slowly). Number three is bright, but at just four (her birthday was Friday) she's not quite ready to tackle the 1599 Geneva. Number four isn't yet two, and while she's precocious, she's not THAT precocious.

Anyway, we're thinking over ways we can be more encouraging of private time in the Word - and wanted to survey our fellow parents of young and young-ish children to find out what you did when you had kids our age. We do regular morning and evening worship, and catechism, but really want to incorporate an expectation that they be reading privately as well as they are able. Like I mentioned, Abby, our oldest, is quite ready for this, and has a NKJV that she reads (though not as regularly as we'd like). Getting her to read alongside her Mom in the morning is probably as sound as we could be, but we'd appreciate other ideas and hearing other folks's experience with their young'uns. :)

Todd
 

jwithnell

Moderator
Staff member
We've been thinking through this too. Our oldest (now married) seemed to naturally understand a need to be in the scriptures. So we're scratching our heads when our other kids don't just follow our lead on this. (You're doing what I think is the most crucial part, exhibiting Bible reading as part of your family's daily routine.)
 

Montanablue

Puritan Board Doctor
I don't have children, so I'm a bit out of my league here, but I remember as a child really really enjoying the narrative parts of the Bible - particularly the gospels and Acts. My parents emphasized reading those parts to me. As I got older, of course, I started reading a wider selection of Scripture. Your children might be more motivated to read narrative than to read Romans or the Psalms. Just my :2cents: of course. I'm sure some children are different, but this is what I remember from my childhood.
 

py3ak

Unshaven and anonymous
Staff member
I would advise against making a chart that they have to check off when they've read their daily portion. It tends towards encouraging thoughtless reading and lying.

I started reading the Bible on my own initiative when I read a book about amnesia and some stolen old guns and so forth and got all frightened late one night. After that I felt guilty stopping. But some time later when my Mom concluded that I wasn't getting enough Scripture and so decided to require me to read a Bible story book, I gave up reading my morning chapter feeling that it was too much. The moral of that story is that children may be more engaged than they appear, and attempting to require greater engagement can backfire. The other moral of that story is to make sure the kids have a Bible by their bed so they can read something soothing like Judges 19 if they get scared in the night.
 
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David'sBeloved

Puritan Board Freshman
How about having them listen to the Bible on CD? It could be at nap/quiet time or at bedtime or any other time you deem appropriate.

I think that by having morning and evening family devotions and catechism, and then having them listen to the Bible whenever feasible they will grow up knowing and loving the scriptures. Reading on their own will then come naturally as they grow older, esp. if they see y'all doing it.

My 12yo reads the Bible all the time. Sometimes it is just to research something, sometimes for enjoyment (she LOVES the life of Christ and David).

Some other thoughts: be careful what other books and media are around. If you create an appetite for "exciting" or "worldly" things, then you can expect that they will be more likely to be bored with scripture or Christian based media. :)
 
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