Our students learn to read and write Hebrew, and build vocabulary related to the mitzvot and holidays. Although the children will not be able to open a Torah or Prayerbook and understand its text, the fact that they can read the words in the original language helps forge a powerful bond with Judaism. Reading Hebrew connects the child to a 3,000 year old language, used by our people over all that time, no matter where we found ourselves. It is a language that is part of our heritage and helps each generation connect to its past. (Besides, Hebrew is fun for kids! Hebrew is purely phonetic, and decoding it is one big puzzle!)
Our Kindergarten – Grade 2 classes are introduced to Hebrew Reading through games, crafts, songs, and stories. Each letter and vowel takes on a fun ‘personality’ which is used as a means to help the child remember the letter’s shape and sound. As we slowly integrate letters and vowels, our students learn the patterns of Hebrew, and how to sound short words. We use multiple strategies, thereby accommodating all types of learners.
Grades 3-7: ALEPHchamp System
In this highly motivated learning environment, students are divided by skill which is represented by various color levels. The Hebrew Reading room, designed with color coded zones, has a designated teacher at each level, with a Hebrew Reading teacher overseeing the program.
When a student feels ready to move onto the next level, s/he simply arranges to be tested. If passed successfully, the student will be included in our weekly award ceremony. Students get a special certificate with their Jewish name spelled in Hebrew. In this way the Aleph Champ program empowers the individual, stressing self-motivation and personal goals while encouraging group work.
At the end of Hebrew Reading time, students are each given a Homework Card with their color level and page. (Example: Green, page 2.). The worksheet is found by going to www.NJHebrewSchool.com and clicking on Student Space>AlephChamp Homework, by clicking HERE, or by simply logging onto NJHebrewSchool.org/homework. (An email with each student’s homework will also be sent to parents on Monday morning along with a link to the weekly newsletter/blog). We ask that our students review their homework each day for 5 minutes to increase the fluidity of their reading. Once homework is reviewed, students fill out our online Review Form stating that the homework was completed. Each day of the week the Review Form is filled out, your child gets another point on his/her Aleph Champ Chart. Every 50 points on the Aleph Champ Chart gets to a prize!
At ceremonies, held both in the middle and at the culmination of the year, family and friends are invited to a celebration of each student's accomplishments.
In the beginning of the year the students are assessed to see at what level they’re holding and then are asked what goal level they would like to set themselves for mid-year and full year. They are not bound to meet that level, but setting a goal can be its own motivation!
Skills learned in the Aleph Champ program cross over into all curricula: implemented while saying prayers, learning holiday liturgy, and in a variety of other ways.