Have you ever noticed how excited pre-readers are to have a Bible in their hands? They haven’t learned to read it yet, but they know they are holding something special. Teaching pre-readers how to use their Bibles is a challenge, but it is completely worth the time and effort. Start with these simply steps.
1. Teach kids about the table of contents. Later when they can read the names of those books, this skill will be important.
2. Teach kids what a Scripture reference is for. I often tell kids that the Scripture reference is like an address. If I want to visit someone, I look up their address so I know where they live. The Scripture reference is the address for where that verse lives inside the Bible.
3. Teach kids how to read a Scripture reference. Help kids open their Bibles to Genesis 1:3. First, help kids locate Genesis. Next help kids find the large number 1. Finally, help them locate the little 3 under the big number 1. Explain that the big number is the chapter. It always comes first in the Scripture reference. The little number is the verse(s) and it comes after the colon.
4. Repeat 1-3.
5. Repeat 1-3.
6. Well, you get it. Repetition is key when teaching pre-readers Bible skills.
Will kids fumble with the pages? Will they accidentally drop the Bible? Will they accidentally close the Bible after they finally find the page you are looking for? Yes. And it’s OK. Teaching pre-readers how to use a Bible is part of helping them understand that God wants a relationship with them. He sent Jesus to rescue them from sin, and the Bible tells them all about this special plan.