If you are going to teach the Hebrew aleph bet to children, you to have to make it fun. First and second grade Sunday School children have a long and busy week when they are not with you. Chances are, most children are not at home practicing their letters between classes. By teaching the Hebrew in a way that differs from how their elementary school teacher approaches reading, you are setting the children up for success.
Each synagogue has it's own books that they purchase for their teachers to use. There is a lot of supplemental material that you can purchase to augment the materials you are given to use.
At Akhlah.com, you can download flashcards for each letter of the Hebrew aleph bet. Each Sunday in class, we use these flashcards for review and to learn the newest one. First, my students go through what we have already learned by saying the letter and the sound it makes. We do this a few times and then I introduce the newest one. We talk about it and then put the newest Hebrew aleph bet letter back into the pile and repeat the process.
To help the children remember these letters, I teach them mneumonic ways to remember. For example, "bet" has a belly button, "pay" has a point, "caf" has a cough drop.
Finally, I finish this activity by asking if anyone wants to be a "big brave dog" (as opposed to a scaredy cat). The child stands up and goes through each card as I show it to them. Help is given as needed. We applaud the child who wants to do this and then someone else gets a turn. No one is forced to do this.
Another way to teach what kids need to learn is to use manipulatives that match the sound the letter makes. Children can glue these items to an index card or a piece of construction paper. For example, to teach the letter "bet", the children can make a bet with buttons. You can use marshmallows for "mem", pasta shells for "shin" or candy Dots for "dalet". You are only limited by your imagination. Always be sure that there are no food allergies before you pick a certain food.
You can also use Play-Doh to teach. I buy the small party favor sized containers, typically on sale the day after Halloween in Target and Walmart. I ask the children to make the letter that I say, or say a sound and make the letter of the sound I say. It is easy to check and see which children get it quickly and who needs some help.
You can also use small dry erase boards or Doodle Pros to help children learn the aleph bet. Say the letter and have the children write the name of the letter of the board. Then they "flash" you the answer.
Credit: amazon.comOne of my favorite ways to teach the aleph bet is to use magnets in the shape of the Hebrew aleph bet, just like the ones we have for our English ABCs. I put piles in front of each group of children, and they have to work together to put the aleph bet in order. For older children, you can have them use these magnets to make words.
Young children cannot sit still and learn...they need to move! Using the book Alef-Bet Yoga for Kids, my students learn a new letter each week. We stretch, I teach them how to breathe, and then we review we have previously learned.
In addition, I also have the children act out Hebrew vocabulary that they have learned. They create their own poses and it is interesting to see how they interpret a word.
Every week after I teach the children their Hebrew letter of the week, they color a page while I read the story of the letter from The Aleph Bet Story Book by Deborah Pessin. This way, the children see the letter, touch the letter, and hear a story about the letter. This makes learning a multi-sensory experience.
By using these fun strategies to teach the Hebrew aleph bet to children, your students will master their new letter each week.