If you are in a position where you are fortunate enough to be teaching children the Quran or Qaidah, take a moment to reflect on the immense blessing that Allah has bestowed upon you. The following post will give tip and strategies on how to teach kids Quran.
The Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w) said: ‘The best of you is the one who learns the Quran and teaches it’ (Bukhari)
The Prophet Muhammad has clearly stated the virtue and value of one who teaches the Quran and as such we should thank Allah daily for this opportunity.
In addition to the virtue of teaching the Quran, teachers and parents also have the opportunity to gain lots of Sadaqah Jaariya. This means that we will continue to get the reward every time they read the Quran. If they decide to then become a Quran teacher, the reward will be even greater Insha’Allah and we will continue to reap the benefits long after we have passed from this world.
I thought it best that I start a series on teaching children how to teach kids Quran and the many factors that we should take in to consideration when teaching. I have been a Quran and Qaidah teacher for 14 years and Alhamdulillah. Having taught that long, I have build up a bank of strategies, tips and resources that I hope other teachers find useful.
Creating a love of learning Quran
The very first thing that I was taught in my Education and teaching degree was to create a positive learning environment and to nurture a love of learning.
Why create love for the Quran?
As parents and teachers, it is our duty to ensure that the children we teach and raise have a love of Islam alongside a desire to learn. After all, learning the deen is so very important in this day and age and learning in general is what will enlighten their mind and bring meaning to their life. Holding a deep love for the Quran will help them through the never ending trials and tribulations of this world and will Insha Allah keep them on the straight path.
How to teach kids Quran and create a positive learning environment
Explain the reason and reward for learning how to read
Before beginning to teach a child the Arabic alphabet, explain that they are about to get closer to Allah. Explain that learning the Alphabet will help them read the Quran and reading the Quran will help us get reward and get closer to Allah too. You can also touch on how they will one day look at the meaning of the Quran too so that they can understand Allah’s message to us.
This should be enough to light a little kindling in their hearts as a child’s fitrah (nature) is naturally inclined towards the belief of one God. This love can then be nurtured over time by talking about Allah’s love and mercy and how if we read, understand and follow the message, our life will be so much better.
When talking about the rewards of reading the Quran, explain that for each letter they read, they will get 10 good deeds. If they keep reading every day then Insha Allah their level in Jannah will get higher and higher. Talk about how the Prophets are in the higher levels of Jannah and how amazing it would be to see them and get a chance to talk to them.
After the initial introduction, tell them that we always start with Ta’awuz. (Authu-billahi-minash-shaytaan-irajeem) and Tasmiya (Bismillah-irahmaan-iraheem). There is a fantastic visual of one of these on Youtube by Understand Quran Academy.
Explain what the Ta’awuz and Tasmiyah mean in English and get the child to repeat after you when you say it. Repetition is one of the key ways of learning and even a little goes a long way.
Begin with the letter ‘Alif.’ Talk about how it looks and see if they can associate it with an image (without faces) eg: Alif looks like a 1 or a stick. Encourage them to trace the letter with their finger. I’ve made these posters which can be printed in any size and kept in a folder for easy access. After they’ve traced it, and practised with you a few times, get them to practise writing the letter. These mini flash cards below are a great way of getting children to practise. Laminate them so you can use it with multiple children throughout the year.
Include practical elements to all Qaidah sessions
Once your students or kids have practised the letters, close the Qaiah and ask them to show you what the letter looks like by drawing it in the air with their finger.
They can also have a go at drawing it on your hand or their friend’s hand. They absolutely love this! You can also tell them to draw the letter on their partner’s back and get them to talk about how well they’ve drawn it and what they could do better (the children can do this between themselves if the class size is bigger).
A good thing to also include when introducing a letter is to explain where the sound comes from. Use visual posters to show kids where the sounds originate from.
Play Arabic alphabet games
Playing games in relation to any topic is a real game changer. Games instantly improve concentration and get children way more interested in learning. They have lots of fun, compete and challenge themselves without realising that they are learning in the process.
Games also help children bond with one another, learn how to fail in a safe environment and how to follow instructions and rules whilst also learning to respect other players. These are all skills that children need to develop to become well adjusted and mentally healthy.
I’ve listed a few games to help with Arabic Alphabet recognition below:
- Arabic Alphabet snap- make your own or buy on Amazon
- Arabic Alphabet Bingo- download included in membership
- Splat the letter- Use these free downloadable cards and spread them out facing upwards. Call out a letter and the first one to splat it (use their hand or a splatter) gets to keep the card. The one with the most cards at the end wins. For children that are on joining words use these cards (purchase on Amazon)
Introduce some related creative activities like colouring and painting
Kids love getting creative so why not give them a chance to draw the letters using a range of materials? For example:
- Chalk and paper
- Plain paper and cheap watercolours
- Colour by letter activities (will be available to download soon)
Also, check out our Arabic letters page for a wide range of supporting resources that you can adapt to suit your children’s needs.
Get an older or more experienced child to listen to a younger or newer one
Give kids a chance to rise and meet your expectations! I do this when I’m pressed for time and would like a child to be listened to again. I check in with the older one by asking how the other one did. They often give me encouraging and honest feedback and the child they’ve listened to seems to take the feedback on board.
Give plenty of praise- make it specific.
Praising children is extremely important as it makes their effort seem worthwhile. Getting their teacher or parent to comment on the way they are trying hard or getting better goes a long way in the child forming a positive relationship to the adult and to the learning itself.
As a child, I received little praise (part of being South Asian) and had to initially remind myself to give praise. It’s still a work in progress but seeing their faces light up and then go on to try a little bit harder makes it so worthwhile.
Remember to be specific in your praise for example: ‘I love how well you say the letter Qaaf, it’s coming from the right place and sounds great!’
Children can detect praise that is generic and as a result, they won’t see their effort being recognised but being specific means with praise will show them that you can see how well they’re doing and will hopefully create a positive feedback loop. This will then help them when they are practising independently.
What else should I remember when teaching kids to read the Quran?
Remember to remind the child that the Qaida has the words of Allah in it and that we shouldn’t place it on the floor. We should tell them that it is a special book, different and indeed better than any other. We should explain that it deserves our utmost respect and that they should carry it carefully. They should also take care that it doesn’t rip and try and fix it straight away if it does. Some of my student’s Quran’s would end up ripped after a lot of reading. I always make sure that they help me fix it with Sellotape to show them the importance of fixing and maintaining the Qaida’s and Qurans.
Don’t make their reading session too long. A general rule of thumb is to take their age and add 2 minutes to it. I like to keep the practicing and reading section of a lesson short and sweet. The quick pace of the sessions keeps them interested and engaged. Have a few activities prepared in advance that they can move onto. You can find some free activities under the Activity and Colouring pages on the website.