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Israeli/Hebrew teachers: ISO resources

 
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seeker




 
 
 


Post  Mon, Jul 22 2019, 10:05 pm
I have a kid who is reading fine in English, knows all the phonics rules for Hebrew, but fluency is not improving at all despite years of steady practice homework. If anything it seems to be getting worse! She's reading one sound at a time with a lot of hesitations.

First of all, any advice in general?

Secondly, due to the large difference between English and Hebrew performance, as well as a touch of ADHD, I have a theory that maybe the problem is that the practice materials aren't meaningful or motivating enough. What reading material can I try instead that might be more engaging and help build fluency? What do they give beginning readers in Israel? Her Hebrew vocabulary isn't the greatest either though we certainly try... she has more chumash-related vocabulary than modern Hebrew. So it would ideally be something with a lot of pictures to help with context.

Printable/downloadable resources preferred for easy access but I'd take recommendations of things to buy from a store as well. I have someone who could potentially pick things up in Israel if that's what it takes.
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Rutabaga




 
 
 


Post  Mon, Jul 22 2019, 11:35 pm
How old is she?

My daughter's kriah summer homework is to read out loud perakim of tehillim. I thought that was genius.
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seeker




 
 
 


Post  Mon, Jul 22 2019, 11:43 pm
The problem is that Tehillim has no meaning for a grade-schooler with limited vocabulary. Even with a great vocabulary it's hard to comprehend, and it has a lot of long and unusual words. That's what her homework has been for the last few years and I don't see it working for anything. It's a pain and no improvement.
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amother




Orange


Post  Tue, Jul 23 2019, 12:25 am
Do you know why she’s hesitating if she knows the rules and sounds?

How about phonetically using hebrew letters to spell out words in English?
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Rutabaga




 
 
 


Post  Tue, Jul 23 2019, 12:37 am
Does she have a favorite secular book that was translated into Hebrew? Maybe it would be fun to read that out loud since she would already know what the story is about.
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amother




Magenta


Post  Tue, Jul 23 2019, 2:03 am
For one kid I tutored, I wrote out English stories phonetically in Hebrew:
הַי, מַי נֵם אִיז שָׂרָה. אַי רִיד פוּר פָן.

I would also suggest having her read the davening she knows, but follow along word for word, to make sure she is actually reading. Or shuffle around pesukim from the davening that she already knows, so that she can feel confident about reading each posuk, although she might have some hesitation at the beginning.

My mother, who is a long-time teacher, thinks that some kids just don't do well with phonetic reading.

Hebrew is primarily phonetic, because so many words use the same letter combinations (with different nekudos), sight-reading can be close to impossible.

If that's the case here, I'd suggest focusing on coping tips instead of trying to force the issue. Help the student become familiar with greater swaths of davening, Chumash, and Tehillim using audio, possibly while following along, so that this handicap doesn't affect the rest of learning too much.

The only way to keep Hebrew reading from being a phonetic exercise is to learn Hebrew fluently, so other aspects can possibly compensate for the phonetic shortcomings. But although I'm working on a curriculum for teaching spoken Hebrew in a classroom or home setting, I don't know how practical that goal is at this point.
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amother




Rose


Post  Tue, Jul 23 2019, 6:25 am
When I tutored kriyah, we read kids picture books together. Not too much on a page and fun pictures. Some were Israeli and some were translated from English.
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Rappel




 
 
 


Post  Tue, Jul 23 2019, 6:30 am
Rutabaga wrote:
Does she have a favorite secular book that was translated into Hebrew? Maybe it would be fun to read that out loud since she would already know what the story is about.


This.

For early work, I'd recommend finding children's books that have been translated into Hebrew. Most have been. The first ones which come to mind are "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" and "The Library Lion." But really, all the classics have been translated, so take your pick.
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amother




Coffee


Post  Tue, Jul 23 2019, 8:02 am
Fluency comes after comprehension. So it won't come from reading tehillim whose writing style btw is so diff from. Modern Hebrew thst there's no point. She needs to read a text that she understands and keep reading it over and over. Same text. Like a short understandable story.

Someone who took a masters course in this
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smss




 
 
 


Post  Tue, Jul 23 2019, 11:03 am
How's her letter-sound and nekuda-sound automaticity? Like how fast can she look at a letter or nekudah and say its sound? If not completely automatic and fluent I'd work on that- can have her trace on a carpet/felt etc, lay out some flashcards and quickly point to the one that makes this sound, you say a sound and she writes the letter/nekudah on a whiteboard...

I hear what you are saying about it perhaps being lack of motivation since there's no interest factor like with English, but I just wonder if Hebrew picture books aren't too easy? Like wouldn't picture books have only one or two-syllable words and lots of hints from the pictures? How much practice of sh'va rules etc would there be? Would it really prepare her for reading Chumash, Rashi, tefillos etc? But maybe it's a good place to start...
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amother




Rose


Post  Tue, Jul 23 2019, 11:14 am
smss wrote:
How's her letter-sound and nekuda-sound automaticity? Like how fast can she look at a letter or nekudah and say its sound? If not completely automatic and fluent I'd work on that- can have her trace on a carpet/felt etc, lay out some flashcards and quickly point to the one that makes this sound, you say a sound and she writes the letter/nekudah on a whiteboard...


I've also made my own matching cards to work on this skill. Easily confusable letters with nekudos and you have to read the card when you flip it. The memory aspect of the game helps them focus to remember it.
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seeker




 
 
 


Post  Tue, Jul 23 2019, 1:09 pm
Thank you for all the tips. Does anyone have links to where I can find picture books in Hebrew such as you are describing? I'm not worried about picture books being too easy. As long as they are somewhat fun to read, and easy will build her confidence.

She does OK with memory cards etc. She did tons of those in kindergarten, Pre-1-a, and first grade. So maybe getting a little rusty since that was a while ago and her next-level fluency practice hasn't been working. I'll try going back to that though she'll definitely hate it.

I'm OK with her not being perfect with sh'va rules. Frankly I was always fuzzy on them myself because you learn them in 1st grade and then have many years to forget them, and I mostly daven and say Tehillim from Artscroll and others where they mark it with a line over the letter. My priority is to get her total reading speed up even if it means more errors. I know fluency includes both speed and accuracy put together, but right now she's all accuracy and sub-zero speed so I'm OK with swinging in the other direction.

Reading from davening that she's familiar with, it's impossible to make sure she's following along word for word. You can't force that, if she knows it by heart she'll be saying it by heart even if her eyes and finger are with the text. However, I think I will take individual words and phrases that appear frequently and flashcard those. I am concerned that her fluency is barely improving even with repeated words. She does recognize some but not as many as I would expect. Or she has to look for a longer time before realizing that it's a familiar word. By "longer time" I mean like a second, but fluent readers don't need that second. A second in between syllables is way too much.
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