Memorizing Bible verses, hymns, and catechism truths has always been a key part of Christian training. After giving the Ten Commandments, God instructed his people to take these truths and “impress them on [their] children” (Deuteronomy 6:7). What better way to impress these truths than to have them committed to memory!
Some children seem to be able to memorize very easily, while others seem to struggle. The following ideas may be helpful for parents whose children have a more difﬁcult time:
- Explain the meaning of what is being memorized. If your child does not understand the meaning, memorizing will be more difficult. Knowing the meaning also helps a child apply the truth to life.
- The ﬁrst part of actual memorization is to read or say the entire passage several times.
- Next, divide the passage into logical thought units. Explain each unit, and say the words of that unit several times. Keep working on that unit until it is known word for word. Have your child close his or her eyes and say it.
- Add the next thought unit to be learned. Explain it and repeat it several times. Then put both units together, and say it until it is memorized. Continue in this way by adding the rest of the thought units. Always go back to the beginning of the passage and repeat the words. Strive for exact, word-for-word memorization. After the passage is memorized, have your child explain what it means.
- Spread out the recitation work. Three 5-minute segments of practice will be more beneﬁcial than one 15-minute session.
- If you or your child becomes frustrated with the memorization, stop and take a break. Anxiety blocks memory.
- When memorizing hymn stanzas, teach the rhythm of the poetry or memorize by singing the stanza.
- Some children may actually ﬁnd it helpful to walk around the room as they memorize.
- Review memory work right before your child goes to bed. There will be better retention in the morning.
Memorizing God’s Word is important not only because it provides instruction but because it also builds a treasury of support and comfort texts for use in times of need.
Image credit: meinrobert (used under Creative Commons CC0)