Read the Student Book First

I just got this advice from a DRE friend who tells me that she always gives her catechists the student book first before she gives them their catechist manual. She instructs them to read through the student book to get a feel for the flow of the book and the content and flavor. Then and only then does she distribute the catechist manual which helps to unpack the content of the student book.

That makes a lot of sense to me and I thought I’d pass it along as advice for those of you who will be using a new textbook this year. Sometimes, jumping right into the catechist manual can be overwhelming. If we have a good idea of the student book, then the catechist manual will serve us as a resource for accessing the content it contains.

For many of us, the start of the religious education year is just a few weeks away! Let’s keep in touch about advice and strategies for entering into this year of grace!

About Joe Paprocki 2748 Articles
Joe Paprocki, DMin, is National Consultant for Faith Formation at Loyola Press, where, in addition to his traveling/speaking responsibilities, he works on the development team for faith formation curriculum resources including Finding God: Our Response to God’s Gifts and God’s Gift: Reconciliation and Eucharist. Joe has more than 35 years of experience in ministry and has presented keynotes, presentations, and workshops in more than 100 dioceses in North America. Joe is a frequent presenter at national conferences including the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress, the Mid-Atlantic Congress, and the National Conference for Catechetical Leadership. He is the author of numerous books, including the best seller The Catechist’s Toolbox, A Church on the Move, Under the Influence of Jesus, and Called to Be Catholic—a bilingual, foundational supplemental program that helps young people know their faith and grow in their relationship with God. Joe is also the series editor for the Effective Catechetical Leader and blogs about his experiences in faith formation at

2 Comments on Read the Student Book First

  1. I always read the student book first when planning lessons. That way I can see what the kids will see, and I can start to think of how the material might be presented. Then I turn to the manual for the official advice of how to present the lesson, and my pre-thinking on presentation helps me choose the best mix of activities.

  2. Denise, this makes such perfect sense and seems like stating the obvious but it had never quite occurred to me! I always jump into the catechist manual first and I think it would do me well to spend that time in the student book. Thanks.

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