Using Bible Stories to Practice Early Reading Skills: Mighty Reader Workbook, Grade 1

With a young child, I enjoy using many different approaches for teaching him how to read. What's even better is when we use resources that allow me to teach reading, along with another subject at the same time. Recently, we received the first grade level of the Mighty Reader Workbook, which combines quick reading lessons with Biblical studies. 


Who knows how to combine 20 minutes of reading practice and devotional time? A mighty reader! With the Mighty Reader Workbooks, your child can stay on top of his or her reading game while reading amazing stories from the Bible. Author and current second-grade teacher Heidi Cooley knows how important daily reading is for a child’s learning development. But parents are often lost as to how to help their children practice reading and writing skills. The First Grade Mighty Reader Workbook offers a unique solution to this problem, combining biblical and educational learning. First graders will read stories from the Bible and then answer questions and complete tasks in the same way they would in their classroom. All questions are aligned with state standards, so parents can feel confident that their child’s practice is appropriate for the first-grade level.

Each lesson . . .
• Offers 20 minutes of reading and skills practice
• Aligns with state standards
• Strengthens comprehension
• Increases fluency
• Boosts decoding skills
• Encourages critical thinking
• Improves sentence writing
• Teaches biblical values

Heidi Cooley has taught elementary grades for more than ten years and holds a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education. She currently teaches second grade in Dickson, Tennessee. Heidi has been married for eighteen years and has two children, ages 11 and 8.

As a Christian family, it's really nice when we can incorporate Bible studies into any of the subjects that we're working on. The Mighty Reader Workbook allows us to do just that. The book offers basic reading and phonics practice for first grade, while also using thirteen popular Bible stories. 

Included are themes for eight Old Testament stories:

  • Noah and the Ark
  • Jonah and the Great Task
  • Joseph and the Colorful Coat
  • Moses and the Ten Plagues
  • David and Goliath
  • Three Friends in a Fiery Furnace
  • Daniel and the Lions
  • Queen Esther

New Testament themes in this book include:

  • Jesus is Born
  • Zacchaeus Climbs a Tree
  • Jesus Feed the 5,000
  • Jesus and the Cross
  • Jesus and the Empty Tomb

Each lesson is comprised of one story from the Bible (out of the lists mentioned, above). The lessons are designed to be done on a weekly basis with six days worth of activities. Each lesson week starts off with a Bible story that is broken down into numbered sections. These numbers are also displayed at the top of each day's activity, so that students know which portion of the story corresponds with that activity. 

One of my favorite aspects of this book is that each lesson starts off with an introduction page that allows me to get a quick glance and plan for the week's activities ahead. On this page, a list of vocabulary words are included, along with a brief definition for each one. There are also highlighted Biblical terms, included. These usually consist of names of individuals in the story or other topics that are pertinent to what is being read that week. I also appreciate that the vocabulary words are highlighted in red throughout each weekly lesson. This allows my son to quickly spot them as he's completing an activity. The introduction page also offers a notation on the skill sets that will be covered and learned in that particular lesson. So for instance, in Daniel and the Lions, some of the vocabulary words include favorite, trustworthy, law, den, and protect. Some of the skills covered in this particular lesson include adjectives, picking up context clues, visualization, inferencing, and compound words. 

The book also uses various reading strategies including echo reading, choral reading, partner reading, etc. There is a different reading strategy to incorporate into each day's activity. The repetition really helps children maintain what they're learning and builds reading fluency.

There is a broad range of reading and language arts skills covered in the Mighty Reader Workbook, Grade 1. The best part is that my son can practice his grammar and reading skills while also learning about Biblical history, so it's a win-win for the both of us. I look forward to also picking up the Mighty Reader Workbook, Grade 2 and hope to see new releases for subsequent grade levels in the future.