When we began regular family scripture study we used the old standby routine. Dad began by reading one verse. Then, going clockwise, each family member took a turn reading his or her verse. The system was functional, but it didn’t always keep our interest.
The first thing we did to change this system was to rotate who would be in charge of scripture study each day. This has worked well—even our seven-year-old feels pretty important when she is running the show.
The next thing we added was “touch” reading. This works best if a parent is the leader, because the leader reads the most. The person in charge begins by reading a few verses. When the leader wants someone else to read a verse, he or she touches another family member on the arm. The family member reads one verse, and then the leader reads verses again until another person is touched. In this way, the parent leading the scripture study can direct the reading. With a little advance planning, the reading can resemble a play, with a parent as narrator and family members providing dialogue parts.
Another idea to ensure that everybody is reading along is to have all family members read the specified scripture section individually and take notes as they read. Small children who cannot read can be partners with someone who can read aloud to them. Afterward, the family can discuss what was read.
A second approach for families with small children is to focus on reading scripture stories. We follow this outline for Book of Mormon stories:
1 Nephi 2–4, 7, 18
2 Nephi 3–5
Enos, Jarom, Omni, Words of Mormon
Mosiah 11–13, 17–18, 27
Alma 14, 17–18, 53–56
3 Nephi 8–11
Mormon 1, 6–7
Ether 1, 3, 6
Moroni 1–5, 10
While the family is reading the scripture story, the nonreaders draw pictures about what they are hearing. For the nonreaders’ benefit, the leader may have to pause after each main idea in the story to paraphrase what is happening.
With everyone participating and fulfilling an important role, scripture study becomes more meaningful to all members of the family.—Cindy Bluemel, Vancouver, Washington