It is now the middle of summer. The heat is causing your kids to want to stay indoors all the time, and it feels like the beginning of school is never going to get here.
You want your children to still be kids, but at the same time you don’t want them to just waste all summer on the couch watching television.
What can you do?
Today, I want to share a great resource we recently signed our kids up for that we are already loving….and it’s free!
It’s called Advanced Bible Reader (or “ABR” for short), and it is a great faith-building resource from our friends at Apologetics Press.
What Is ABR?
Advanced Bible Reader’s own website starts with these simple words: “The purpose of this program is to encourage young people ages 5-13 to read the Bible and learn what it says.” While those may be simple words, I hope that, as a Christian parent, you see the eternal value in them!
ABR simply asks young people to read the Bible (or related books and materials by Apologetics Press), then take a short quiz on what they have read. As your kids take and pass these tests, they earn “points” to track their progress. The homepage for ABR then displays the top performers over time.
Further, if you or your congregation is involved in Lads to Leaders, ABR can help your child earn a gold award in the “Year-Round Bible Reading” category. While it takes a lot of work to earn that award, it is great motivation to keep them going.
What Do They Read?
Here is what I love the most. When I first heard of ABR, I thought it was only based upon books and other materials designed for young people from Apologetics Press. Certainly, that is a major component. From books for very young children like Fish, Flies, and Fleas to more advanced materials like Dinosaurs Unleashed, children read and then take tests on these faith-building materials. Also, back issues of “Discovery” magazine can be used for the tests.
However, there are also readings and tests on every book of the Bible! Of course, longer books (Genesis, Isaiah, etc.) are broken down into a few chapters at a time, so the student does not have to try to remember everything from these lengthy books for the quiz. Shorter books (Ruth, for example) are all contained in one test. Again, this is a wonderful way to encourage Bible reading. And further, if you are involved in Lads to Leaders, this is a good supplement for several events: Bible Bowl, Year-Round Bible Reading, Parade of Winners, and Centurion of Scripture.
Three Things We Like
As I said, we are very new to signing up for ABR (as in, less than a week in!). Already, though, our kids are really loving it. Here are three reasons why I wanted our children to be involved.
- Personal Reading/Study. If my son wants to read a book about dinosaurs, while my daughter wants to be studying a book for her Lads to Leaders Bible Bowl, that’s fine. They can each be reading Biblical material, then seeing how much they are actually retaining that material through the tests. This fosters in them an understanding of personal Bible study.
- Sound material. Obviously, the Bible is sound! However, we are big fans of the work that Apologetics Press does, especially for children and young people. Having my kids desire to read these materials over and over again is a major plus. We have many of the books, but plan to order others as our children need them for this program.
- Outstanding Use of Time. As I began this post, I noted how here in mid-summer, kids can get a bit of the “blahs” and just want to veg out. Using ABR, they are motivated to spend some time reading and growing in their faith, and they are motivated to do so on their own, with very little prompting from mom or dad!
Conclusion and Resources
How much did signing up our kids for ABR motivate them? My son–the very first night–went into his room (and his sister’s room, too!) and pulled out all their books and materials from Apologetics Press and put them on a desk right in our living room. He wanted to stay up late reading another book, as did our daughter.
Parents, this is a great resource and–again–it’s free! Of course, you have to purchase Apologetics Press materials for your kids to read, but the ABR resource itself is a free website. To get started for free, simply concentrate on the tests on Scripture, then purchase Apologetics Press materials for your children as you are able. Who knows? You might even start a trend at your congregation of ordering these types of materials!
[Also, on our podcast, Eric Lyons from AP did a program with me about the need to teach apologetics to our children. To hear that interview, click here.]
AUTHOR: Adam Faughn