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Counting Words: Bible Memory Verse Activity

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Child looking pensiveThis learning method is one I discovered one day when the kids were feeling rowdy in kids church.
Instead of my normal methods of group memory verse work, I asked the kids to do something different. I never use this as a stand-alone memory exercise, but it’s a good supplement that brings some variety by promoting active listening.
Supplies: A group of kids and a memory verse
Target Age: You’ll need a group of kids who can count silently. With younger children be sure to use shorter verses.
Procedure:  Say something like this. “We’re going to do something fun with our memory verse today. Instead of repeating after me, I just want you to listen carefully and count the number of words. So for each individual word in this Bible verse I want you to count silently. When I’m done we’ll compare our counts.”
Next, read the scripture verse slowly to emphasize each distinct word. I usually omit the Bible reference in this because all the confusion about counting the numbers as words or not.
After you’ve read the verse. Say, “Lets do it a second time so you can all double check your word counts before we compare.” Then repeat your reading.
After this ask a volunteer to share their word count. Reassure the child, even if the answer is wrong. “That number sounds like it might be right. Let’s give someone else a chance too.” Then ask a second volunteer to verify. It you get several different answers repeat the whole process. I like to have the correct number written down before class just to be sure.
Possible Variations: Sometimes I recite the verse backward word-for-word being careful pause between words. I’m not sure this adds much to the memory process, but it’s a fun option to challenge older kids.
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