Grade Level or Age Group: I have done this with students grades 10-12, but it can no doubt be adapted for younger students.
Lesson Objectives: The students will be invited to read Scriptures and to react to it in writing.
- One Bible or Scripture Handout for each student.
- Copies of the Scripture Journal Sheet
- A scripture passage.
There are several ways you might want to proceed. Below are a few suggestions:
1. Gospel reading
a. Students decide which Gospel they will read. Tell them to start from the beginning of the Gospel they selected and to read through it. I suggest that you set a definite amount of time for them to read each day and that this be rather short. I have done this with senior students and asked them to read for 10-15 minutes at a time. This seemed to be just right for them. You might want to adjust that for younger students.
b. Insist that this be a silent reading time. I have found that this was not a problem. I was amazed at how quickly the students settled down to read and how quiet the classroom became for almost the full allotted time.
c. Once time is up, remind the students that it is time to write in their journal. You can have them follow the format suggested in the Scripture Journal Sheet or simply have them write a paragraph in which they react to what they have read. Tell them they have 5 minutes to do this. I have found that some of the students become restless if you extend the writing period too much beyond that.
d. You can have your students do this only when you see them in class, or have them do it as an assignment at home.
e. I have done this exercise in my Religious Ed classes 3 times a week for 3-4 weeks in a row (you will have to determine yourself by the way the students are responding how long to do it with your group).
f. You might wish to pick up the students' journals at least once to read them. If you do, tell the students ahead of time (before they make their first entry) that you will be doing this. I always told students that I would only read what they wanted me to read and that they could simply write "don't read" beside any section they wanted me to skip.
a. Select one or more of the readings of the day (U.S. Liturgical Calendar) . If you are in Canada, consult the CCCB web site here for the readings of the day since these may vary slightly from those in the U.S.
b. Read the selected scripture passage(s) to the students or have one of them do so.
c. Hand out a copy of the same scripture passage(s) or help the students find it in their Bible.
d. Ask the students to quietly read the passage slowly and to do so at least twice. Decide ahead of time, depending on the length of the readings, how long the students will have to read. They should know this before they start reading.
e. When the reading time is up, ask the students to write in their Scripture Journal.
f. Insist that steps d & e above be done very quietly.
©Gilles Côté, 2001 If you copy information from this page please acknowledge your source.