Q. I teach Sunday School, and the age group of the children are 6 thru 8 years of age. I only have one child that is willing to read the others are not able to read. What would you recomend as a way to teach?
A. I taught a mix of readers and non-readers for years and while it means a change of style, it can be a lot of fun.
My strategy included:
a) Read selectively. I would pick the most relevant verse or two to the story, and either I would read it or I would have the willing reader read it aloud. I would stop after every half sentence or so and check to be sure everyone understood what was going on by asking questions about the verse.
b) Mix images with text. I had lots of flashcards for things I wanted the kids to remember, that included an image with each word. The pre-readers memorized the images and would at least become familiar with the word’s sound and look even if they couldn’t read.
c) Allow activity during storytime. For longer stories, I would break the story into small sections. Frequently we would get up and act out a short element of the story, or I would allow them to color a related image while I was telling the story. Or I would have dolls acting out the story and the kids take part by making sound effects or telling me what would happen next.
d) Use movement and song to reinforce memory. Having students make up hand motions to memory verses, or make their own song to describe a story helps reinforce learning when they can’t read to help them remember.
Even for kids that can read, these are good ways to reinforce learning in non-verbal learning styles. I have a whole page on the different learning styles and various ways to incorporate at http://www.sundayschoolsources.com/learning_styles.htm that may give you some more ideas to incorporate into lessons. There is more info at: http://www.sundayschoolsources.com/Teaching.htm