2 July 2013 by Adeline Lum CM-
Note: For parents with children 4 to 6 years old
Do you remember your children’s first word?
Many parents recalled hilarious stories of their children’s first words. A mother, for example, shared how her husband always forgets to bring the garbage out. One day, to their surprise, her nine-month old’s first words were “Garbage Out!”
While these stories bring a hearty laughter, we also know that children learned best from hearing and interacting with the environment. Hence, as parents, would you want your children to have a head start of spelling and reading from the Bible?
Teaching children to read can be challenging, especially when it appears to be a sedentary and quiet activity. That is why Petra Ho created a fun ‘The Bible Phonics Program’ to teach children how to read.
“It all started in 1996 when my pastor asked if I could take care of a group of children from four to six years old in Sunday school.”
“The Lord impressed me to teach children how to read with phonics and bible stories. But when I went to the bookstore, I could not find any bible-based phonics material or books,” Petra said.
She thought the impression was not from the Lord. But later, she found out that God wanted her to develop the program. Hence, she took it as a short-term project.
She started with the basic A to Z, such as ‘A’ for Animals in the ark, ‘B’ for Baby was born, and ‘C’ for Camping in Canaan. As time goes by, she began to develop lesson plans, visuals, craft worksheets, workbooks, English readers and Bible story rhymes.
Designed for Sunday schools and community outreach, these lessons were then amalgamated to ‘The Bible Phonics Program’, where each lesson has a Bible story, a puppet skit and an object lesson.
‘The Bible Phonics Program’ comes in four terms, which can cover up to a year of bible-based phonic lessons for Sunday school teachers. The four terms teach the sounds of the 26 letters of the alphabet and the building of three to seven-letter words. In the fourth term, children can opt to go up another level by learning consonant blends leading to four to five-letter words, long vowel sounds, silent letter sounds and many more.
It also has a CD for teachers to print out teaching aids as well such as flashcards, blending letters, word lists, sight words, matching activities, recording booklets, etc. And to strengthen what the children has learned, each lesson builds on its previous lesson.
Not to mention, a DVD comes with the program too, which offers about three to five minutes tutorial on each lesson for the children, i.e. songs, sounds and blending to form words, sight words, English readers and Bible story rhymes. Upon purchase, Petra would train the teachers to use the DVD effectively as a tool to assist the lessons and also a tool to drill the children. This DVD is a life-saver for teachers who are not familiar with teaching phonics lesson.
Hence, what started as a short-term project became her life-long passion!
“This production is definitely God’s. If it has not been God, I would not have lasted so long, especially when the program is produced specifically for the church, a very niche market,” said Petra.
Apart from 'The Bible Phonics program', Petra has also produced a set of 7 coloured-coded cubes that can form more than 3,000 words.
“When I first did Bible Phonics, I wanted something tangible for the kids to manipulate with the hands and learn. So, I would teach them new words by using cubes with printed alphabets on each side,” said Petra.
Every week, she would produce cardboard cubes with specific letters of the alphabet that would string the words she wanted to teach. As time passed, she began to compile a mountain of cubes.
“I began to pray to God because I cannot have this mountain of cubes every week. So, I worked on it and produced seven colour-coded cubes of alphabetical letters that can form all the words for the entire program,” said Petra.
She later developed this seven colour-coded cubes into a word game with its own English readers and word cards called ‘Shuffle Champ.’
Please watch demo video to see how 'Shuffle Champ' works!
On 29 of June, 'Shuffle Champ' had a spelling competition at LifePoint Subang Jaya Assembly of God (SJAG), as part of a community-outreach project. A total of 121 children participated, ranging from 4 to 12 years old!
The children were divided into eight categories including children who are 4 years old, 5 years old, 6 years old, 7 years old, 8 years old, 9 years old, 10 years old, and also 11-12 years old.
In the competition, the children were chosen based on the speed they string together a given word. After that, they need to spell the word aloud, ring the bell before running towards the game coordinator. The children squealed with excitement when they completed their spelling and scurried to make a line.
The top ten fastest ‘shuffle champs’ from Round One would be chosen to compete for the second round and finally three fastest ‘shuffle champs’ would be declared as winners.
After the competition, a worship session was held, followed by a simple skit that only Jesus can save us from our sin. Finally, the competition ended with a prize-giving ceremony.
Parents beamed with pride as their children went on-stage to collect prizes.
Also, recently, a similar spelling competition was held in the Penang Christian Center last October, where a total of 180 children participated. It is called as the ‘Brainlympic.’
Deuteronomy 11:18-19 says that we should teach our children God’s Words all the time. Why don’t we start teaching our 4 to 6-year-olds words based on Bible concepts today using ‘The Bible Phonics Program’? It is developed with the same concept as ‘Shuffle Champ’. Your children can learn to spell and read, while having fun!
18 Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 19 Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.
If you’re interested to know more about the The Bible Phonics Program or Shuffle Champ please contact Petra Ho at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you’re interested in the Shuffle Champ program, BIBLE PHONICS BROCHURE here.
If you would like to watch how ‘Shuffle Champ’ is played or have your children participate in ‘Shuffle Champ’, come to the Radiant Life Assembly in Kajang on Sept 7 (Saturday) in conjunction with their Community Health Day. Contact Pastor Yu Li at 03-9075-1057 for more information.
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