I so wanted to use the title “Loci Dokee” for this post but I didn’t know if anyone would read it. I’ve also since learned that I was probably pronouncing it incorrectly.
The ancient Romans and Greeks used a mnemonic device called “loci” for memorising information. Basically, they would mentally “walk through” buildings or streets and associate the various locations or items with something to remember.
It is sort of like tying a string around your finger to help you remember to put the rubbish by the curb. As you leave for work and put your hands on the steering wheel you notice the string and say to yourself “oh yes, I need to put the rubbish out.”
Or remembering how many days in each month by using the the knuckles of your hand as a mnemonic device.
I’ve often used an adaptation of this same method called “Memory Lane” when helping children learn verses from the Bible. Kids love it and it works particularly well when memorising a number of verses together.
How It Works
Children follow a “path” and stop along the way to say parts of the memory verse. The words might be written out at each stop but once the children repeat the journey a number of times they learn to say the verse from memory without reading the words.
- A Bible and chosen verse(s)
- (outdoors) Sidewalk chalk and a surface such as sidewalk/footpath, asphalt, driveway or paved parking lot
- (indoors) Marker, pen or pencil and paper. Rope, string, masking tape to visually connect the papers and form a path
- (outdoors) A stick to “write” with and a surface such as sand or beach
- or any combination of the above.
- Read over the verse(s) and divide it into phrases.
- Create a path using the method you have selected.
- Write the phrases on separate pieces of paper (or on the surface you have selected).
- Place them on the path in the order they will be said.
- Show the children how to follow the path. They will stop at each paper and read the phrase aloud before walking to the next phrase. (You might do it first to show them how it is done.)
- Older children can write out the phrases and set up the game for everyone else.
- This activity can be done at a quiet and slow pace appropriate for smaller indoor spaces or fast and loud if you have a large outdoor area.
- If you have plenty of help and space appoint helpers to stand at each stop and read the assigned phrase with the children. This personal touch aids in memorisation. You will be amazed how quickly children learn long passages of Scripture with this method.
Memory Lane Example:
I’ve used the verses known as the Great Commission in the example at the top of the page.
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20 NIV)
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