Ways of teaching Memory verses.
There are many ways to teach Scripture (Memory verses) to children,
but I have found that the more "fun" you make it, the more
likely they are to really take it in.
1. Diminishing words.
In my experience, the most effective method I have come across is to
use "Diminishing words." This is very simple and easy to
prepare, but children really enjoy it because they think that they are
Write out your memory verse about 6 or 7 times on pieces of cardboard
(or paper). However, each time you write, gradually make the words
smaller. The words on your last card should be as small as you can
possibly write them.
Show your first card (Biggest words) to your group, and have them say
the verse. Then simply work your way through to the last card -
children repeating the words each time. As you get to the smaller
words, start to compliment the group on their eyesight. Act amazed
when they manage to "read" your last card. Then say "I
think you are trying to fool me. I don't believe you can really read
this last card. I think you have memorized the verse. I think you can
repeat the verse without any card at all" - And they will!
If you have a ventriloquist’s dummy or a glove puppet, use that to
help teach the memory verse. Have the verse written out for the
children to see, and then explain to them that your puppet is going to
say the verse – a few words at a time – and they have to repeat everything
he says. You can have a lot of fun with this method by getting the
puppet to ‘say’ totally irrelevant things, e.g. jokes, personal
comments, etc. as he gradually works his way through the verse, always
remembering to bring ‘him’ back to where he digressed. Then get
the puppet to say the verse, but pausing in the wrong places.
Finally, get the puppet to say the verse the right way, with the
children still ‘repeating’ of course.
3. Guess the letter.
This is another popular method, but it does take a little longer than
most other ways. Write out your verse by putting “blanks” for
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ Luke 19.10.
The idea is for the children to guess the correct letters that make up
this verse. As they do so, fill in the blanks.
There are two ways of using this method.
Competing teams (e.g. boys v. girls). One person from each team
guesses a letter in turn. If team 1, for example, guesses ‘n’, and
there are three n’s, they get three points. If team 2 guesses
‘e’, and there are six e’s, they get six points etc.
The team with the most points when the verse is complete is the
The class compete against ‘teacher’. Explain that if they guess a
letter and it is not in the verse, you get a tick. If you get (say)
four ticks before the verse is completed, you win.
Show the verse in full, and then gradually eliminate the words until
they have all gone. Test the children after each step to see if they
can still say the verse. There are a number of different ways you
could do this.
a. Write the words out on a number of different cards (e.g. 1 or 2
words per card), and then simply remove them 1, 2, or 3 at a time –
depending on the length of the verse.
b. The same as above, but write the words out on inflated balloons.
Get volunteers to gradually ‘pop’ the balloons with a pin.
c. Write the complete verse out on a large piece of cardboard. Then
get volunteers to gradually tear pieces off it, until it has nearly
all gone. By the time this is complete, the children should have said
the verse the targeted 7 or 8 times.
d. Invisible writing.
Write the verse with a white crayon on white cardboard or paper. Get
volunteers to gradually paint over the cardboard with red food
coloring. The words will then ‘magically’ appear as the food
coloring adheres to the crayon. This is a good way to teach verses
concerning the blood of Jesus.
5. Puzzle methods:
a. Balloon race. Take two pieces of paper, and write out your verse on
each one. Cut each paper into small pieces, with two or three words on
each. Put each set of papers into two uninflated balloons. Choose two
teams. One member of each team has to race to the other end of the
room, blow up their balloon, tie it, burst it, retrieve the pieces of
paper, and get the other members of the team to help to arrange the
verse in the correct way. For larger classes you could, of course,
have more teams.
b. Flannel board Jigsaw. Write your words on any interesting
shape, back with winceyette, or other suitable adhering material, and
cut into about 8 or 9 pieces. Get two or three children to come out
and rearrange the jigsaw correctly on the flannelboard. Shapes you
could use are a question mark, a Bible shape for any verse relating to
the Bible, or a telephone for Jeremiah 33.3.
c. Picture puzzles. Draw a series of pictures, each representing a
word. Get the children to try and guess – you may have to give some
‘hints’ – what each picture stands for, until the verse is
6. Mirror image
Write the verse backwards, so that you could only read it properly by
looking at it through a mirror. (Ensure that the individual letters
are written 'the wrong way round'). Get the children to try and
read the verse. In my experience, most children do not have any
trouble doing this.
7. Code method.
Write out the verse in code form, by either changing the letters to
numbers (e.g. a=1, b=2 etc.) or, for older children, to symbols.
Don’t forget to show the children the code. Alternatively, you could
not show the code, but change only the vowels (e.g. a=1, e=2 etc.).
8. Extra letters.
Write out the verse, but add (say) two extra letters between the
words. Leave no gaps. Here is an example:-
9. Jumbled letters.
Jumble up the letters of each word. Example: het sno fo mna acme ot eeks dna ot aves het tlos. Lkeu 19.10.
Recapping Memory verses.
I always consider it a good idea to recap your Memory verses a week
later in order to see how effective your teaching has been. Here are four
ways that I do this.
1.As I mentioned above, I offer small prizes for those children who
can say the verse to me the following week. I get them to repeat the
verse in front of all the class. This way all the children
are hearing the verse again a few more times.
2. Mistakes. Read out the verse, and make a number of deliberate
mistakes. See if the children can spot them all.
e.g. The brother of God arrived to find
and shave the poor. Matthew Chapter ninety
verse eleven. (Luke 19.10. - Mistakes underlined).
3. Puppet fun. I bring along my 'Dummy' George, who tells the children
that he wants to learn the Memory verse. I get a child to repeat it to
George, but then he gets it wrong. e.g. "Out towels dried for us
while we were still swimmers." (Romans 5.8). A second child
repeats the verse, but George still gets it wrong e.g.
"McDonald's fried for us while we were still hamburgers."
Finally, all the class repeat the verse to George. This time he gets
4. Elimination. Get either individuals or groups to say the verse
in turn (i.e. go round in a circle) - one word at a time. No
hesitating is allowed. If a child (or group) cannot say the next word,
they are eliminated. Once the verse is complete, get them to do it
word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged
sword." Hebrews 4. 12.
Copyright 2004 Maurice Sweetsur
friends about this lesson. Invite them to visit
the Sermons and Lessons page.