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Chalk up another…

hebrew 005Yup, yet another curriculum / workbook that annoys the heck out of me… and which Naomi Rivka seems to love!

This is קריאה ועוד/ Kriyah v’Od (Part 1), her Hebrew reading/writing workbook.  The entire book consists of learning all the consonants with the “ah” sounds of kamatz and patach, and it seems to me mind-numbing and dull.  The graphics are weird and the pages seem at once too “busy” and too big and sparse.

Naomi always does the work in it happily, though, so I’ve been sticking it out, and even bought the second-level book when I saw it in a bookstore a couple of months ago.

hebrew 003And then last week, I discovered this file-folder that Naomi Rivka had snuck off into her room and decorated to look exactly like her Hebrew book.  Here’s the cover – house, “letter mem” slide, choo-choo train.

It’s not her best drawing ever, so I was blown away when I opened it up to discover…

hebrew 004 

hebrew 006

… Two whole pages of Hebrew writing exercises, in exactly the same splashy colourful layout as the workbook!

The early books in this series present stories with words (and specifically, vowels) that the kids haven’t encountered yet, so they use “icons” to represent the words – alef with man eating to represent “ochel”, alef with a woman eating for “ochelet”, shin with hands shaking for “shalom,” etc.  By the end of the second book, most of the icons are gone, but at this stage, there are many.image

In her own workbook, Naomi incorporated several of the same icons – I think they’re so cute!  Here’s BAYIT (house):

Here is SHALOM (hello):


imageThe book represents ANI with an alef and pictures of either a girl or a boy pointing to themselves.  Here are her ANI icons (the top one is how she is drawing boy hair lately):

Finally, this sheet proves that she is getting the key concept of GENDER, as shown in her colour-coded display for ABBA BA (father is coming) and IMA BA-AH (mother is coming):


Sometimes, I worry about filling her life with too many workbooks; I think maybe unschooling or montessori or anything else less structured might work better.  And then I get feedback like this and I think,  “nope – for now, we’re okay.”

I have to say how very, very funny it is that my little Ashkenazi girl is totally in love with the word “Shabbat.”  To be fair, Ted calls it Shabbat, and so do many people at shul.  I may actually be the only person in her life who calls it Shabbos. 

Calling it “Shabbat” is actually a way of asserting her independence, aligning herself with all the cool people she knows who are NOT her Mommy.  This doesn’t break my heart or even disappoint me, even a little.  It all just underscores how much I love seeing her enjoy and look forward to Shabbos… whatever she calls it.


  1. I love what she's done!!! Very cool! One thing I find interesting...I haven't seen anyone printing Hebrew. We learned Hebrew "cursive" and my Israeli friend write Hebrew cursive as well. Is that not taught anymore?

  2. @SL - I believe block print is taught to the youngest kids, but phased out pretty quickly. It's useful for making signs and titles, but for day-to-day, absolutely everybody uses cursive.
    I believe the second level of these textbooks begins introducing cursive, like the second they have finished learning the alphabet.

  3. In my kids' [Israeli] schools, the first graders begin by going through all the letters (not necessarily in alphabetical order) with shva and kamatz/patach - using only block print. This initial stage usually lasts until about Chanukah or so.

    At this point, they start introducing one new vowel sound at a time (first chirik, then cholom, etc.) - while gradually phasing in cursive writing.

  4. Mrs. S - the sequence of these books mirrors the Israeli method and sequence, just slowed down a bit for North American kids who may not have an extensive vocabulary. I was just not familiar with the "single-nekudah" method of introducing reading.
    My older kids did an alphabet song where they learned ah-bah-gah-dah and then eh-beh-geh-deh and ee-bee-gee-dee and sang them one after another.

  5. I'm interested in how you think Kriyah V'Od would work for an older kid who can already read Hebrew, but whose vocabulary is very limited and is almost finished with Migdalor L'Gan? Unfortunately I don't have access to the books to look at them before I buy them. Also, do you find the CD to be useful/necessary?

  6. @Molly: If you mean the accompanying music CD, it's been pretty much useless so far. As for whether it's good for an older child who can already read, I would think NO because it doesn't really build vocabulary very quickly. There are books that do more, better, quicker in this area - depending on whether you're looking for conversational or prayer Hebrew.
    Perhaps Behrman House has something that might be appropriate? (maybe Torah Aura?)

  7. Regarding the music CD, I think most of the songs are pretty cute... but the "reading" tracks weird me out.


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