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Bible Telling: Life of Christ Review by Donna Campos

By John and Jan Walsh
International Learning Solutions
2905 Gill Street
Bloomington, IL 61704

The Bible Telling: Life of Christ course is designed for personal study, to enhance storytelling skills for Bible teaching, or as a high school course on the life of Jesus Christ. It includes consumable workbooks for units 1-12, and each unit includes three stories from the life of Christ for a total of 36 in the course. Four additional books include the answer keys. Each unit is designed to take three weeks (one story per week), making the course appropriate for a one-year study spread over 36 weeks. A test for each unit is stapled in the center binding of each workbook, while the answers for the tests are stapled in the binding of the answer key books.

The first workbook includes a two-page introduction explaining the course and the various components. (The Instructions refer to a Bible Telling CD or DVD; these are not included but are available separately.) The units include the birth of John, the birth of Jesus, Christ growing up, the sermon on the mount, forgiving sins, calling the twelve, the bread of life, the transfiguration, the man born blind, the last supper, Gethsemane, and the trial before the Jews. Each story includes a Scripture passage and questions. The reader looks up the story in the Bible to find the answers. A crossword is also included for each story. A "Telling the Story" section actually tells the story, followed by a blank storyboard and instructions for drawing the storyboard. "History and Customs" includes helpful information to expand the presentation. And a section on "Reflection" includes a few questions to be answered personally. "Communication Activities" offer various options for telling the story with creativity and flare. There is also a 20-question quiz for each story. At the end of each workbook is a two-page review covering all three stories.

We found the "History and Customs" portion of every text to be the gem of the entire course, as they include dates, facts, and interesting points that will help a storyteller keep the attention of listeners. This kind of information would be extremely helpful to anyone who shares the Word of God with children. The hand gestures presented with the storyboard information add an interesting twist to the concept of storytelling. By the end of the course, you will have completed 36 crosswords along with the quizzes, fill-in-the-blanks, storyboards, activities, and tests! That range of activities should get each story fairly solidly into the mind of the student. I would consider this a high school level course, but it is definitely workable for younger students who have a firm grasp on the range of activities.

We did find the crosswords to a little monotonous. I wish they had used a variety of word puzzle activities, perhaps switching between crosswords, word finds, and word coding activities--anything other than crossword after crossword after crossword. Also, be aware that the content contains references to demons and other deep issues that younger students should not approach independently.

Our family found the Bible Telling: Life of Christ course to be a nice addition to our homeschool library, providing a storytelling skill that both the children and adults in our home can utilize for the rest of our lives. Learning to use storyboards is a fantastic skill that increases confidence in speaking before others and helps the user organize and maintain story facts. The course is ideal for high school students, and it would be a wonderful refresher for adult Sunday school teachers as well.

Product review by Donna Campos, Senior Product Reviewer, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, February 2010