Creating an Interactive Bible Story
by Captain Teresa Everett, International Headquarters
Are you one who reads instructions before doing something or do you press all the buttons until it works? Do you remember pictures better than words? Do you write notes knowing that you will remember better if you write things down?
Captain Teresa Everett
We all learn differently. Children learn differently too. If we want them to remember what they are being taught in church, our teaching should use a combination of these learning styles:
- Visual or 'seeing' - Children learn by seeing drawings, or by listening to a teacher describe activities in detail. Teachers may suggest visual clues when telling a story and encourage children to 'paint' their own mind pictures as they listen or read.
- Kinesthetic or 'touching and doing' - Children learn through activity, by moving around and touching things. Teachers may provide opportunities to be active.
- Auditory or 'hearing' - Children learn by hearing spoken words. Teachers may incorporate singing to retain detail.
Each child may use all three styles of learning, but one is likely to dominate. Teachers should find ways to teach that stimulate all three learning styles.
Interactive stories are a great way to incorporate the three learning styles. This style of storytelling works well with biblical stories. Familiar stories told interactively come to life in a new and memorable way. Being careful not to stray from the original details and content of the original story is important, but there is always room for imagination.
- Choose a story you love. Look for stories with clear action, strong characters and simple structure with built-in memory aids. Modern retellings are easiest to work from since they are already adapted for this generation's listeners.
- Picture the story. Visualise the scenes clearly in your mind. Later, these pictures will help you recreate your story as you tell it.
- Use repetition as it helps the listener remember the story and helps encourage participation. Children listen for and anticipate the repetition. Some stories already contain repetitive information. But if there is little repetition, it is not hard to come up with repetition of your own. Keep it simple. Lines that are easy to remember and fun actions will keep the listener's attention.
- Use gestures for active words, noises or things you want to emphasise. Make them big and exaggerated. You can make each character have a different voice.
- Participation is best when everyone does the same action. More will join in if everyone is looking foolish!
- As you tell the story, give enough time for your listeners to 'see' the story, to laugh, to feel, to reflect, and to hang onto the edge of their seats excited about what comes next.
Storytelling is interactive. As your listeners respond to your story, let your story respond to your listeners.
You don't need lots of fancy props. Begin the story by telling the listeners what they need to do at certain points of the story.
> Interactive story of 'Zacchaeus'