Scripture study for children promotes commitment to faith

Tammy Woell reviews lessons with her grandsons from "A-Z Memory Verses," a Scripture study that she developed and wrote for children. Her grandsons attend St. Edward School, which uses her Scripture study series in the classroom.
Tammy Woell reviews lessons with her grandsons from "A-Z Memory Verses," a Scripture study that she developed and wrote for children. Her grandsons attend St. Edward School, which uses her Scripture study series in the classroom.

Parents and teachers often struggle to find ways to interest children in the Bible and help them develop skills for studying Scripture.
“A-Z Memory Verses,” a 26-week lesson Scripture study, from Simon Peter Press is the answer to that question and the brainchild of Little Rock resident Tammy Woell.
“If they get these foundational truths early, they’re like time bombs that go off when they really need them,” Woell said. “Children are the future hope of our Church, and this gives them the foundation they need for lifetime Scripture study.”
Woell, the author of the children’s Scripture study, is no stranger to producing materials to help others study Scripture. She is co-founder of Little Rock Scripture Study that is now in parishes around the United States and internationally.
“My first experience of teaching Scripture to children was with my own,” she said. “My children learned to love Scripture at an early age. I wanted to recreate this for all children in a way that was fun. It’s important that they are not turned off from it because they’re not having fun.”
The book is part of Simon Peter School Scripture Study series, and includes a music CD for “A-Z Memory Verses” and teacher’s guide. It focuses on introducing the Bible and techniques for memorizing Scripture to students in third to fifth grade. The sessions help the students learn one verse that starts with each letter of the alphabet.
“I was amazed at how much children could learn about Scripture when introduced to it in ways that they could understand and have fun. They are like sponges and take it all in,” Woell said.
Other published studies include “The Gospel of Luke” for fourth graders and “Acts of the Apostles” for fifth graders. Woell is currently working on publication for Exodus for sixth graders, which will take six to nine months before it is published. Also in the works are studies on Paul’s Letters for seventh graders and Ephesians for eighth graders.
Each lesson includes an activity and coloring page and focuses on four core criteria for learning — “daily personal quiet time and Bible study, group sessions, family involvement and prayer.”
“This is a multi-faceted program, focusing on all the ways children learn. At each grade level, they review and build on what they previously learned. With each year it becomes more profound and increases their skills in biblical understanding,” Woell said.
The lessons are designed to use activities, such as songs, crafts, prayer, skits and videos, to “make Scripture come alive” to students, personally and as a class.
“Scripture study rounds out our third-grade religion program,” said Edna Koehler who teaches the “A-Z Memory Verse” study to third graders at Christ the King School in Little Rock. “The Word is brought alive by the skills and videos. Parental involvement is stressed. The children not only learn how to recite the verses, they understand them.”
The program debuted in the school setting when Christ the King opened 25 years ago and is still in use there today.
“(Former pastor) Msgr. (J. Gaston) Hebert wanted a Scripture study to compliment the religious program at the new school. He knew of my work with the Little Rock Scripture Study and asked if I would coordinate it,” Woell said.
Eight schools in Arkansas use the program, including St. Edward and Our Lady of the Holy Souls schools in Little Rock, North Little Rock Catholic Academy, St. Boniface and Christ the King schools in Fort Smith, St. Mary School in Paragould, St. Joseph School in Paris and St. John School in Hot Springs. Parents who homeschool also use the program around the country.
“I encourage principals and teachers to welcome this Scripture study program into your schools. It will enrich your religion curriculum and open the hearts of your children to the Word of the Lord,” said Kathy House, principal at Christ the King.
While she never planned it, Woell said she feels awed at how God used her enthusiasm Scripture study to inspire future generations.
“I have to give God the glory for all of this. He helped me find a way to try this and that way blossomed into this Scripture study series,” she said.
The Simon Peter Scripture Study series is available at Guardian Church Goods in Little Rock and online at www.simonpeterpress.com.

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