Open the Book

Open the Book.

Open the Book (OtB) is a scheme that allows primary school children the opportunity to hear the major stories from the Bible in a way they find enjoyable and challenging. It involves a team of Christians from local churches going into the school and giving a 10 – 15 minute presentation with an introduction, a dramatized version of the story, a summary that links the story to the children’s lives and a closing prayer. In some schools this is incorporated into the school assembly; in others it is a separate event.

Our OtB team visits Dursley C of E Primary Academy each Tuesday, giving our presentation as their assembly. The older children (year 3 and above)  attend – local clergy read Bible stories to the younger during their assembly

Although the OtB people suggest a three year cycle (not based on the Church’s 3 year lectionary) we use the material to ensure that we cover the two major festivals at the right time, with Christmas being the last session in December, the Crucifixion at the end of Spring Term and the Resurrection as the first of the Summer Term.

In recently we have covered Jonah and the Big Fish, Samuel Hears a Voice, David the Giant Killer, The Wise King and Daniel and the Lions. The acting is always simple, and we use basic homemade ‘props’ to assist the story – for example, animal masks, birds on strings, simple tabard-type costumes.

Most weeks we have a narrator to read the story, 3 or 4 adults playing speaking parts,  a variable number of children depending on the story, and an adult to do the introduction and conclusion. Everything is scripted – the only part we do ourselves is deciding what questions to ask the children about the previous week’s presentation.

Does it work? The children certainly seem to enjoy it – they sit quietly and take it all in and  the response to the questions is always good. If we need them to take an active part as a crowd they roar out the words and the children who help with the presentation when needed are always keen – so keen that often we have children trying to volunteer when it’s not their class’s ‘turn’.

Please remember us in your prayers. The work the OtB team do is a significant part of our parish’s mission to the community and ensures that the children have at least a basic introduction to Christianity and the Bible.