Friday, October 10, 2008

MOPS: Adventures in Reading

This lovely piece was painted by Joyce Abbie Fox
Title Unknown

Chances are good that if you are a mother of preschoolers, you have one or more pre-readers in your home. Do you realize that although many children do not read well until first grade or later, you have the ability to give your children tools to make the transition to reading very easy? Reading out loud to your children from an early age develops listening skills, page-tracking skills, letter recognition and more. Playing word and letter recognition games at home and while driving in the car also develops these skills.

In the same way we equip our children with reading tools and skills, we can be equipping our children with knowledge of the written word of God. In Deuteronomy, God commands His people, “These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” (Deuteronomy 6:6-7) God knows that children learn new information through repetition, so He instructed His people to incorporate His words into the very fabric of their everyday lives.

To impress God's Word on the hearts of your children, start by bringing bits of Scripture into the beginning of their day, and again at the end. Consider establishing a structured devotional time with your family; but also look for the teachable moments that pop up in the car, while walking through the neighborhood, even while playing with siblings.

In the mornings I try to build 15 extra minutes into our routine so I can sit and read from the Children's Bible with my daughter before breakfast, then her dad prays with her on the way to school. In addition, every time we see a soaring hawk or a vibrant sunset, we say, “Look what a neat thing God made!” Sometimes I think we may have taken this too far in our house, as my children have been heard around the house calling, “God? Where did you hide my airplane?” But I am encouraged that they see a connection between their little world and God's invisible one.

An added bonus of using the Bible as a text so many times a day, is that kids grow familiar with it as a reading source, and begin to develop a love for it. Keep your Bible out to build recognition, and let your children see you reading it. You can play textual games, looking through its pages for repeating letters and words. Together you can search for the shortest chapter (Psalm 117) and the longest chapter (Psalm 119). Stories of the Patriarchs (Genesis), David (1 & 2 Samuel), and Daniel (the book of Daniel) are especially interesting to pre-readers, and easy to narrate.

Today we invite you, if you have not already done so, to pull out a Bible and begin to use it with your pre-reader. The adventure you begin will last forever.

This article was first published in the newsletter of my local MOPS chapter, targeted at mothers of preschoolers. This year's theme is "Adventures in Mothering."

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