When my oldest daughter was 5 years old she was supposed to start learning how to read in Hebrew in her preschool, but we were about to move to a different city so it didn’t work out. That’s how I ended up teaching her how to read in Hebrew. Our primary language is Hebrew, but we also speak in English.

From my experience, it is best to start with memorizing the letters (including the ending letters like Nun Sofit – נון סופית) again and again, until you know them 90% at least. 

After almost knowing them by heart, you can start to practice writing them. That will help your brain remember them better and faster.

Then, you can move to Nikud – ניקוד – the small shapes around the letters that tells you how to pronounce the words correctly. In this stage you should move slowly and focus on one Nikud at a time, like Kamats – קמץ, and so on.

If you are learning from a good textbook you will have practice words specifically for each Nikud. The most important part is to practice, practice, practice. And if you start getting confused, you should go back to the part that you knew well and start over from there.

Another thing that helps, is to get books for kids that have very simple words and fewer words in general. You will have an easier time practicing your Hebrew if you use these kinds of books.

Hope that helps to put things in better order.

Until next time,

Dikla

1 thought on “The best way to learn to read in Hebrew

  1. Hi, Dikla!

    I first learned the Hebrew letters in a formal classroom setting. There were certainly fewer than ten of us registered for this class, and we had to learn the alphabet, the nikkud, and the academic transcription of the sounds all in one week! For example, we needed to learn that אֱלֹהִים should be rendered as ʾĕlōhîm in transcription, and that there was a difference between דּ d and ד . I think it was pretty tough, but we learned it quickly and well, and we started to learn biblical Hebrew vocabulary straightaway.

    On the other hand, I’ve seen people who spent years just going over the letters, never really making it past being able to spell out the simplest of words.

    Do you know of any online resources that might help those interested in Hebrew take those first steps toward literacy in the biblical language, or even in modern Hebrew?

    I’m glad to see your first post up on the blog!

    Jason

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