Question for you: Morning Scripture Study Routines

Some really great and inspiring ideas!

I have been receiving emails from parents who are trying to get a morning scripture study routine and my hats are off to all of you!

I wanted to open it up and see if you will share what has worked for you and your family in the past so you can all sift through each other’s comments and pick out some things to try.  And please share – I get so many comments from single mothers who are searching for ideas to use with their children – so if you have some good ideas, please leave them in the comments below.

Here are some of my ideas – just from a teaching perspective, and I fully admit that I have a 1 1/2 year old, so I am NOT speaking from kitchen table experience – just classroom experience.  So take it or leave it, but this is a version of the formula I used while planning my seminary lessons:

1-  Make it relevant

We will all listen to things that are relevant to ourselves – say you are looking to buy a car, you may stop and watch a car commercial you never noticed before because it is relevant to you at that time.

If your morning scripture study routine consists of reading sections of scriptures together, I would probably try to pre-read it (with my spouse) searching for relevant principles for our family so we would be inspired and prepared when we read that section.  So I am looking for things they NEED right now.  Something about the start of school, or making friends, or being a good example.  Then when I  find that principle I may try to think of a short story or a really good quote so it really applies to them.

2-  Make it sparkle

A few years back Elder Richard G. Scott was speaking to the seminary teachers and he told us that our lessons should “sparkle”.  He didn’t mean that they should be flashy, but that they should “sparkle”.  I think of a beautiful gem, sparkling in the sun – it is showing its amazing beauty and capturing your attention.

That message really resonated with me and I put the word “sparkle” above my office door so I could see it whenever I was planning a lesson.  And I would alway know when I was getting there – I could feel it.

A sparkling scripture study moment can be as much as you sharing an amazing story, opening up the meaning of a scripture, giving a challenge, or bearing a powerful testimony. But you will know it when it is happening – you will see it in your children’s faces.

3-  Keep it short

I am pretty sure that things are hectic in most homes before school and that most people don’t have the time to have more than 5 or 10 minutes together.  But those 10 minutes can really count.  It may take some prayerful planning, but 10 minutes can be the power minutes for the rest of the day.

And honestly, I think a powerful lesson or thought can often be lost if the teacher keeps on talking on and on.  So a power 5 or 10 minutes can actually be more impactful than an hour long scripture study. The lesson will be taught and then your children can think on that one important doctrine or principle the rest of the day.

4-  Establish it as a life line

I imagine that in most homes it would be hard to implement a morning scripture study routine, until it became a need rather than a duty.  If the morning messages really were relevant to your family’s lives, then they would quickly come to rely on the guidance they received in those precious moments.  And trust me, if you walked through the halls at your kid’s schools and saw what they had to see and hear, you may have an hour of scripture study every morning! It really is a life line!

5-  Have impact

This goes with being relevant, but the goal is that every day our children leave our house feeling strong.  The goal isn’t to read a few scriptures, but rather to learn something that has impact in their lives.

I hope that little formula can help you out as you seek to teach those you love so much.

I also wanted to show you a new series me and my graphic designers are working on.  It is for personal, family or classroom study of the Book of Mormon.  We have just released the very first one which covers the political conditions in Lehi’s day and 1 Nephi 1.  It is pretty insightful.  This one is pretty extensive so you can understand the history of that day – the ones coming up won’t be so extensive… but we will have to see.  🙂

Awesome Book of Mormon study and teaching tools. This one helps you understand what was happening in Lehi's day!

Oh – and these packages will also include story maps you can use as you study.  So – we will eventually have them for the entire Book of Mormon!

Book of Mormon story map (Lehi in Jerusalem)

You can check this all  out HERE.

Please leave any comments you have about your morning scripture study in the comments below.  Thank You!!!

21 thoughts on “Question for you: Morning Scripture Study Routines

  1. That formula is really hitting home with me. Due to a lack of a better idea, we have just been reading a chapter a day and sometimes I fear I am not helping them love the scriptures. But I am going to do this for sure! And I love how it can be so personalized – those principles can be used in a thousand ways!

  2. First, let me say I bought that political conditions and 1 Nephi 1 packet as soon as you put it up (I saw it on Facebook) and it is amazing! I never knew that stuff and it totally puts everything into context! I am working on the journal pages right now and my son is doing the Lehi picture. So fun!!!

    Second, we have tried so many different things and some have been good and some have failed. But one thing I like in your article is that you put the focus on parents using that time, and really using it means preparation. I know my daughter’s seminary teacher spend time preparing her lessons – so why shouldn’t I?

    Thank you!

  3. I love this article.

    Right now we just read a verse and discuss it around the breakfast table, and it works pretty good – but I totally want it to be more relevant and sparkle. So I am going to put more planning into it. It will probably still be around the breakfast table but I will use it as a teaching moment instead of a reading moment.

  4. Totally! Right now we just reign in the kids and read a chapter together – but I love the idea of finding things within that chapter that is relevant to my awesome kids. And I can see how this can totally have an impact on their attitude about that time. We will probably have to read less scripture so we can talk more – what a great thing!

  5. My children are all adults now but I used to read scriptures with the younger ones every day. Most of the time it was while the older children were at early morning Seminary because that worked best. I would run myself ragged trying to do it all, drive the older ones to seminary, dash back home, get the younger ones up and reading, dash back to pick up seminary kids, back home all before we even started the “getting ready for school” stuff. In all we read the Book of Mormon four times and I felt really good about myself and how it had worked even without my husbands help. Now I feel like it was worthless. My youngest is serving a mission and he told his Mission President that he had never read the whole of the Book of Mormon. He just doesn’t remember it. I didn’t know about “sparkle”, “impact”, or “relevance”.

    Maybe I would have been a better mum by letting the younger ones sleep.

  6. Currently, I am picking out verses (mostly Book of Mormon scripture mastery) to read to them while they eat. Then we discuss the principles found in those verses.

    Another idea that has worked well for us in the past is for everyone to come to the breakfast table ready to share something from their own personal reading.

  7. Morning would not work well for us. Mainly becasue I am NOT a morning person. We would have to do it around 4:30 and that isn’t going to happend or be effective.
    I noticed that l like the Pioneer time idea of doing it after dinner. This has been wonderful for our family. Now if we go over, which we typically do we are not too rushed.
    I plan out our scripture study at the beginning of the week so this helps. We are doing topics studies right now. I write down which verses we are reading each day. One Sunday we summerize and watch a clip of a talk about the subject. On day one of the topic we define the topic clearly.
    It has been a nice change from having to get through this chapter.

  8. After decades of trying different things, this is what works for us ( my kids are 15, 12, 10 year old twins)

    No matter what is happening at home, those who are at home at 8 pm stop and we have scripture reading until 8 .30 pm. It is too hard in the morning with seminary. When the older college age kids were at home and little we use to pile them in our bed when they were sleepy and read the scripture story book for kids to them, and they like being in our bed all snuggled with us. Then as they got older we just didn’t fit, and school got crazy.

  9. I am a Grandma, teaching Valiants in Primary, and I find that children need to be doing something while you are discussing. I use directive listening when I am talking. I type out some words that they are to listen for and then when they hear the word, they glue it into a simple journal.
    If there is a certain scripture I would like us to really understand, I type up the scripture with some words missing. They search, find, and then we discuss.
    Here are some deeper explanations.
    http://backontheflooragain.blogspot.com/2013/08/primary-5-reviewing.html

  10. We have two little ones, ages 3 and 5. A couple years ago our stake was challenged to read two pages of the Book of Mormon each day. We’ve kind of run with that and are now about 3/4 through for the second time. We read one page in the morning, and one in the evening. Since the kids are so small, we usually start by reminding them what we’re reading about, then we read the majority out loud. We pick a verse for each kid to repeat word by word (an appropriate length for their attention spans). After we read we review an Article of Faith. I’m super proud to say that the kids have most of them memorized (with a little prompting). My husband and I are almost as good 🙂

    Most days we just read and then we’re done. But some days my 5 year-old daughter has a question about a word, person, or doctrine. Then we stop and discuss and it’s pretty awesome! If something comes up in our reading that is relevant to them we try to point it out. And if we hear a talk, see a picture, or something else that repeats the stories, people, or doctrines that we’re currently reading about we bring that to their attention too so that we can emphasize it.

    Typically my husband has already left for work in the morning and I do the routine alone with the kids. And if we’re getting to bed very late we’ll just read a scripture mastery. It’s not perfect but it’s really worked well for us. If nothing else, we have the routine in place and we can tweak it as our needs change.

  11. I have a 1 1/2 yr old and a 5 yr old and it has always been a struggle to get them to concentrate on scripture reading. We tried it once for a couple of months with the motivation of coloring in part of a Book of Mormon chart we had read that morning, but the novelty only lasted a while. I also tried to use the paper puppets from your site and they did like that. I still use them if we actually read. I decided I needed something else they could concentrate on so every morning we watch a little clip of the Childrens scripture stories and a Mormon Message. They have had a more powerful impact on my 5 yr old and he will ask questions and we’ll talk about the clips we’ve watched. One morning we were watching a video clip he really liked from the Mormon Messages, the one about Pres. Uchtdorfs mom traveling on the train and instead of me helping him to understand it, he told me what was happening and how the Holy Ghost helped her. I could feel him feeling the spirit and it was a very tender moment between us. I am always open for any ideas that will enable me to have more moments like that with my kids.

  12. We’ve adjusted our morning time over the years. When we started having our 8 kids we didn’t have it at all. Then it started by each reading a verse (it’s great to teach little ones to read) and explaining what was said. We’ve taken a scripture story and taken a week to really learn it. We’ve used special family study manuals with each of us taking a topic a day or section of scripture. When we don’t have time we have one scripture as a spiritual thought. Right now, we read together, expound on anything that touches us then have a inspirational thought to be memorized for the week.

    Changing it up every now and then keeps us on our toes. I guess there’s no perfect way just as long as we keep trying.

  13. Will you give us some ideas, too, for improving our personal scripture study? I don’t have children at home anymore but struggles? I have plenty. And so I need ways to strengthen my scripture study. Thanks, Shannon.

  14. I have Very little kids, and honestly life is SO crazy more days than not I have really lacked at doing this… But one thing that we have found that is helpful for us, and I figure a little tiny bit is better than Nothing Right? Anyway it is the little Scripture a day flip calendar… I read them the scripture and most days have a chance to chat about what it means, or a story to go along with it, or ask the kids if they can share a thought about the scripture. I know it isn’t much but it is something!

  15. The mornings work for me so that is what works for our family. I can’t remember in the evening so it never gets done. Fifteen minutes before anyone leaves the home we gather and read. So, during school that means that at 5:35 I get everyone up (we have 9 kids) to read before the big kids go to seminary. On Sundays we’re all ready 15 min before we go to church, etc.

    Honestly, we don’t include Dad. He leaves at 5:00. We agreed that was too early to wake the whole house. But our teenagers need the blessings too much to leave them out.

    Through the years we have tried different styles. At one time I had a book of pictures, similar to the gospel art book now, and the little kids picked out a picture and I told them the story. Then I heard the prophet say that our kids needed to hear the “words of the scriptures” so I included a few short verses.

    Now, even though we still have little ones, we just read and pause for comments. The little ones can still look through the picture book as we read.

    Not perfect, but I really try to be consistent.

  16. I really like your ideas and will try to implement them in our scripture study. We gather for about 10 minutes before the kids leave for school–I wish it could be longer but mornings are crazy and evenings we would forget. We read from the family Book of Mormon (the real thick one) and sometimes we only get one little section read (so not even a chapter). We just read and use the questions and information at the bottom to help guide our study and make it relevant to the kids (ages 17, 14 and 11). Then we have family prayer after and they are out the door. I used to get really upset if I felt like it was too short or they weren’t listening–ha ha–but now I know that just doing it is better than not on those days!

  17. We have elementary school and preschool kids, and we have tried numerous different things over the years. Right now what is working best for us (for my school-aged kids) is scripture journals. I found these journal prompts (for Book of Mormon and New Testament) awhile back at http://www.latter-dayhomeschooling.com/2011/10/scripture-journaling-with-children-our.html.

    I print out the journal prompts and put them in a composition book for each child. They read/watch online a Scripture Story from lds.org and then answer a question in the journal (or for my non-readers, they color on the journal page for that day and/or dictate the answer for us to write down). Most of the time they prefer to watch the corresponding Scripture Stories videos online, but occasionally, they read the story from the book. Each morning my kids do one before school. (Though we are not perfect and miss days on occasion.) This is our second year doing it, and so far it has held their interest pretty well.

    When we got to D&C, I had to make up my own journal prompts. While this was a lot more time consuming in preparation work, I actually found I preferred it that way because I was able to tailor the questions specifically to my own children as our family needs or inspiration dictated.

    We also try to read each night as a family. This doesn’t always happen either, but my hope is that between the goal of something in the morning and something in the evening, we are able to get a little bit in each day. Sometimes we have wonderful, amazing discussions and don’t actually make much progress in reading that night, sometimes we read through a few chapters with very little discussion (especially when my kids are the readers and are reading at lightening speed!), sometimes we have bad nights and grit our teeth through a couple of verses just so we can say we did it that day, and some nights it doesn’t happen at all. It’s never perfect, but we keep trying, and we NEVER give up. Even though I would say most of the time our scripture study is not full of noteworthy experiences, we do on occasion have some really special moments where I know that my kids are learning to recognize and feel the whisperings of the Holy Ghost. What more could I ask for than that? It’s these moments that convince me of the importance of making this time together a priority. So we just keep working at it…and hope to get better the more we practice this habit.

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