Hebrew is an integral part of Jewish cultural identity. As such, children benefit hugely from having a thorough understanding of the Hebrew language. As a parent, you want your child to become a fully formed member of his community. Helping your son or daughter understand and adopt Hebrew will aid them in becoming just that.
Reading Hebrew and learning the language
- Helps children develop their own identity:
While we all have our own personality traits, we need to give a voice to these traits in a way that can be understood by others. Learning Hebrew gives your child that voice. It is the tool with which they can be themselves as a fully fledged member of their Jewish community.
- Roots that identity in Jewish cultural heritage:
By reading Hebrew and learning the language, your child learns more than words: he or she learns a culture and develops an understanding of where they belong in that culture. Helping children learn Hebrew also strengthens family bonds, giving you a common cultural background as you pass on your knowledge to them.
How can you help your children reading Hebrew?
Learning and reading Hebrew starts at home. As a parent, you can create a nurturing environment in which your child can freely experiment:
- Talk to your children in Hebrew. Children learn languages faster the younger they start. If you talk Hebrew to them from birth, even if they go to school in a different language or if your partner doesn’t speak Hebrew, they will learn. It can become you and your child’s go-to-language, making it even more special.
- Expose your children to Hebrew in different forms. If you read to your children in Hebrew, listen to Hebrew artists, watch movies or play games in the language, you are introducing fun things that are culturally relevant. This makes learning the language interesting to your child, as it becomes rewarding without ever turning into a chore.
- Be patient. There are times when your child will be less receptive to speaking Hebrew. If all their friends speak another language, you can’t expect them to stick with it. Teaching a language is about patience and understanding. If your son or daughter is having none of it, don’t force Hebrew upon them. There is always tomorrow to try again.
The Internet has made teaching Hebrew easier
There are many digital tools available online to help your children be successful in learning and reading Hebrew. These resources make learning fun, varied and engaging for both parents and children.
- A–Z Homeschool: This collection of Hebrew lessons for kids will help them learn the alphabet and basic vocabulary through fun online games.
- Cartoon Hebrew: Using simple cartoons, your children will assimilate Hebrew vocabulary while being entertained.
- Hebrew Alphabet: As the Hebrew alphabet is different to the more widespread Latin alphabet, this website gives you all the information needed to assist children in learning Hebrew.
- Ji Tap: This collection of community-designed mini-games covers all aspects of Judaism, including Hebrew. It is an ideal platform to introduce an element of fun, all the while practising the language.