Rio Curriculum {Review}

Rio Curriculum {Review}

I have to admit, I had reviewed the Rio curriculum a few years ago and I was not impressed. It seemed very stale and outdated.  So when David C. Cook asked me to review a sample lesson, I did not have high hopes.  I’m very happy to report I couldn’t have been more wrong.   The Rio lesson I looked at was fresh, exciting, and very cutting edge when it comes to using media in the classroom.


To begin, let’s cover some of the basics:

  • Rio, a digital classroom-based Sunday school curriculum, provides the best in spiritual formation for your leaders and kids from first through sixth grade.
  • Rio provides two years worth of lessons to help you lead children and families into a deeper, richer relationship with God. Available in two different formats—an online downloadable version and a DVD version—Rio is designed to fit the needs of different churches.
  • Rio includes a ton of stuff in the kit including lessons, media resources, family talk cards (love these!), activity pages, story points, and more!
  • You can buy curriculum per quarter ($75) for an entire year ($300).

As I read through the lesson, I got the impression that Rio is a well-rounded and thoughtful curriculum.  It’s detailed enough for a newbie teacher to use, and would be easy for an experienced teacher to use as well.  It has a good balance of spending time building community and diving into the Word.   I also like that it provides a truly inspirational piece for teachers called “Heart Prep”.  In the Heart Prep section, I was especially moved by this paragraph concerning Genesis 1:

This passage is so familiar to us that it would be easy to miss the beauty in its details. This time, as you read Genesis 1 and Psalm 104, reflect on this first creative act of God Almighty. Ask the Holy Spirit to speak to you about what He wants you to glean anew from these passages. Imagine yourself as a spectator at the premiere event in world history—when God speaks and things start to move and come to life. Let God’s power and creativity take your breath away.

I have to admit, sometimes I do get tired of the “classic” Bible stories and skim right over the Scripture in preparation for the lesson.  It was great to read this challenge and to really spend some time considering what it would have been like to see creation occur.  Wow!

rio_all_years_DVD (1)

There was a lot more I loved about this curriculum including:

  • The emphasis on using and honoring the Bible
  • The mini Memory Verse poster designed for the kids to take home
  • The natural flow in the lesson and the easy opportunities for conversations with kids to occur
  • The option to either use powerpoint images or posters as visuals
  • No “goofy” opening activity that is present in so many other curriculums

I was truly amazed at the change I saw in this curriculum.  It seems like a great product, and absolutely perfect for the Sunday School classroom.    Check it out for yourself at the website!

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