Proclaiming the Word: Telling Bible stories to young children
Over dramatisation of any scripture text is never a good idea especially when you want to create the understanding that God speaks through his word. However, when telling Bible stories to young children, some emphasis and additional inflection may be needed for better grasp of the story and for greater engagement. The teacher’s personal preparation can make all the difference to the faith experience of the children. Here are some steps you can take.
1. Read the whole text from an adult Bible and carry out the following exercise if you have time before going to the children’s Bible.
2. Ask yourself these questions for greater personal insight:
- What is the context of this story – where is it happening? What happened just before? What is coming next?
- What is the purpose of this particular book of the Bible?
3. Ask yourself the following questions when preparing to tell a particular story:
- What is the key message this story is putting across that I need to get across?
- What do I want my listeners to feel?
- Which words should I highlight?
- Where does the mood change – from fear to confidence; from defiance to adoration; from despair to trust; from complaining to obedience and peace etc? See Exodus 14: 10-31 for example and practice reading it with changes to your voice and mood.
- Is there a climax in the story?
- Where would be the places to pause?
- Which difficult words do I need to practice?
4. Read the text again and again from the Children’s Bible or Good News bible.
5. Look up at your listeners more than at the text.
6. Always allow a pause after the reading and keep still.
Feel free to adapt these tips, and feel free to give us your feedback.
By Wendy Louis