Early Literacy- So Children Can Read The Bible

Early Literacy- So Children Can Read The Bible

Our 18-month-old knows some letters. Our 5-year-old is reading at a second grade level. Am I bragging? I’m aiming at credibility.

So, here’s the main idea: intentionality.

The way to teach children to read is to be intentional about it. This requires investments of time, effort, and finances.

Here are some examples of efforts that I’ve found to be helpful:

Sing the ABC song multiple times a day to your baby.

Spell things all the time- “This is a Bible: B-I-B-L-E.”

Point out letters and words all the time: “It says ‘Open:’ O-P-E-N.”

Read to your children. (Newborns are not too young.)

It’s fun to use silly voices and also to get books that sound really interesting. Christian choices include Baby's Special Bible, The Rhyme Bible for Little Ones and The Rhyme Bible Storybook. There’s also The Rhyme Bible for Toddlers but I haven’t read it so I can’t confidently comment about it.

Secular choices might include books by Dr. Seuss (such as Mr. Brown Can Moo) and April Pulley Sayre (such as Go, Go, Grapes). I like some Rookie Toddler books too (like Black and White Animals and Eat Your Colors).

Everyone’s situation is unique, but when my firstborn was a toddler I was able to read to him for a few hours a day nearly every day.

One key was that I expressed generally genuine ecstatic interest in the books that we read. Stories of Jesus Baby Bible Board Books was a series that I read to him multiple times a day when he was a one-year-old. I really loved reading those and so he really loved to listen.

Jamberry was a secular book that I enjoyed.

Here are some examples of our family’s financial investment in early literacy:

Alphabet sheets

Alphabet playmat

Alphabet laundry hamper

Alphabet toy

Alphabet magnets

Alphabet table placemat

Abeka K4 readers

I could list more, but these are my top picks.

(This story is related to literacy.)

When I was teaching at a Chinese seminary I was given a calendar that had a large Chinese character/ letter on it. It was 爱, "ai,” “love.” It had a bright red circle that featured the character in gold.

Years later, as I sat in a small classroom in Beijing learning to write Chinese characters, I was surprised that my formation of “ai" was noticeably superior to that of the other Mandarin characters/letters. It came naturally and easily. I really think that the reason was that the “ai" had been on my kitchen wall for nearly a year earlier in life.

I had learned something without realizing it.

Similarly I believe that showing the letters to children early serves them in deep and meaningful ways. This is also why I advocate placing “J-E-S-U-S" signs throughout the home.

In summary, early literacy involves practices, like singing the ABC song and spelling words, attitudes, like exaggerated enthusiasm for reading the Bible, and tools like an ABC laundry hamper.

I hope that helps!