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Lookup Races

Lookup races are useful when trying to teach children how to quickly find passages in the Bible. Children will gain a sense of accomplishment and self-esteem by being able to do it "all by myself", not to mention gaining a very useful skill. Here's how it works.

  1. Make sure all children have a Bible of their own. Using an inexpensive one is best as you will soon see...

  2. Call out the starting verse. Use just the book, chapter, and starting verse number, even if the text to be read is multiple verses. The children will have problems remembering where to go while at the same time trying to figure out where the book is in the Bible. To help them, write the verse on a chalk board or white board in large block letters. Alternatively, write it on an 8.5"x11" piece of paper and hold it up while the children are looking up the verse.

  3. Remind the children of whether the book is in the Old or New Testament.

  4. Recite as a group the books of the Bible, starting with Genesis (if the passage is in the Old Testament) or Matthew (if the passage is in the New Testament) and up to the book in question. This will help the children orient in their minds where the book is located. It is also useful here to point out which number the book is in order (e.g., Numbers is the 4th book of the Old Testament.)

  5. All children start with their Bibles closed, lying on the table or desk in front of them, bookmarks out (yes, some will try to cheat :-), and hands in the air.

  6. Remind the children that they are to place their finger on the passage and RAISE their hand when they have found the passage. Otherwise, it will get *very* noisy, very quickly.

  7. Signal the race start by saying "GO!"

  8. The first child to find the passage and quietly raise his or her hand receives a special sticker. I use gold foil Bible stickers. The children love to place these on the cover of their Bibles and compare the number of aces they have!

  9. All children receive a small sticker. I use circular stickers with colored hands, but small Bibles will also do. These stickers are placed in the margin of the Bible next to the verse they found. Over time, the children can look through their Bibles and see all the passages they were able to look up all by themselves.

I first employed this game when teaching a group of 1st graders, who were learning to read in secular school. At first, most needed some assistance, but over a period of just 2-3 months, they all were able to look up verses on their own fairly consistently.

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