Nightly family scripture study is something we strive to do in our home. Our method to divide up reading has been to let the girls pick a few verses to read. We found that once those verses were read attention would wander. I prayed and searched for a solution to this problem.
The answer to this prayer came in the form of a memory. I remember sitting in my 5th grade classroom as if it were yesterday… even though it was actually 22 years ago. The desks were in a boxy U shape forming a ‘semi-circle’ around the classroom. My class was reading a chapter from a science textbook. Popcorn reading. It kept us all on our toes, alert, and reading along. I remember the focus that activity brought. No one wanted to be caught offguard. This was the answer!
Popcorn reading is an activity used while reading aloud in a group. Someone begins reading and at any point that person calls on another person to take over reading. Anything is fair game even calling out a person’s name in the middle of a sentence. This method helps everyone follow along and be more involved in reading.
Perhaps popcorn reading is not the most reverent way to read scriptures, but it keeps everyone on task reading along. There are still evenings where focused attention remains a struggle, but overall this is an excellent practice.
Two weeks of popcorn reading has improved our Family Scripture Study immensely! Zaylee came into the livingroom with her scriptures last night and excitedly asked, “Are we doing Popcorn Reading?” My kids look forward to this!
Zaylee says, “My favorite part about popcorn reading is when I am close to the end I can call on someone to read the last word!”
Jozlin says, “I love that I can make funny sentences by calling on someone in the middle of a verse.” (For example, “For the Lord your God, he it is that fighteth for… [DAD!]” (Joshua 22:10))
I love that this practice encourages our kids to read more. Instead of reading only a couple verses they end up reading approximately a quarter of the chapter or section.
Sometimes the girls get carried away reading on and on, so we made a rule: read 1-2 verses then pass it on. We also have taught our kids the difficult word trick. When it is too hard to sound out pass it on.
Reading the scriptures together is a great practice! It not only sets aside a daily time to teach and discuss the word of God with our children, but it also increases reading abilities quickly.
Mix it up. Keep things interesting. Toss a little popcorn reading into the mix. Let me know if this helps improve your family’s focus too!