How to Choose Hebrew Learning Materials

We've gathered together some organizing questions to help you think through your goals for your Hebrew program, and provided some ideas for you based on your answers to these questions.

The questions are organized by level, to help you think about

  • Pre-Primers (for teaching basic letter recognition in grades 1 and 2)
  • Primers (for teaching decoding in grade 3)
  • Series (for teaching prayer or modern Hebrew in grade 4-6)

Just click on one of the section headings below to get started. For each question, click on the response that best describes your needs.

How to Choose a Pre-Primer:

Ask yourself the following questions before choosing a pre-primer. Your decision will likely be based on your answers to several of the questions below.

1. I want students to recognize Hebrew letters. Do I want the vowels too?
      No, just the letters are enough for me at this age.
          Kadimah
          Let's Discover the Alef Bet
          Let's Learn the Alef Bet
          New Siddur Program Reading Readiness
          Sam the Detective's Reading Readiness
      Yes, I want a light introduction to the vowels too:
           Shalom Alef Bet
          Ready, Set…Go Alef Bet!

2. Do I want a folder format so parents can see weekly what their children are learning in class?
      No, I want a book rather than folders:
          Kadimah
          Let's Learn the Alef Bet
          New Siddur Program Reading Readiness
          Sam the Detective's Reading Readiness
          Shalom Alef Bet
          Ready, Set…Go Alef Bet!
      Yes, I want my teacher to send home a folder each week:
          Let's Discover the Alef Bet

3. What's light and sweet to use as a first introduction to the Hebrew letters, say, in 1st grade?
      Let's Discover the Alef Bet
          Let's Discover the Alef Bet

4. At the pre-primer level (1st and 2nd grade), my students come just once a week. Which materials are best suited for that amount of time?
      All Behrman House pre-primers are designed for once a week class meetings
          Kadimah
          Let's Discover the Alef Bet
          Let's Learn the Alef Bet
          New Siddur Program Reading Readiness
          Sam the Detective's Reading Readiness
          Shalom Alef Bet
          Ready, Set…Go Alef Bet!

5. While my students are learning to recognize Hebrew letters, do I want them to acquire a Jewish vocabulary too?
      No, the letters are enough:
          Kadimah
          Let's Learn the Alef Bet
          Sam the Detective's Reading Readiness
      Yes, I'd like them to learn Hebrew words too:
          Let's Discover the Alef Bet
          New Siddur Program Reading Readiness
          Shalom Alef Bet
          Ready, Set…Go Alef Bet!

6. How important is it to me that students have online games and other digital activities to extend their learning in their homes?
      I am fine without a digital component at this age:
          Kadimah
          Let's Discover the Alef Bet
          Let's Learn the Alef Bet
          New Siddur Program Reading Readiness
          Sam the Detective's Reading Readiness
          Shalom Alef Bet
      I want a seamlessly integrated, built-in digital component:
          Ready, Set…Go Alef Bet!

How To Choose a Primer:

Ask yourself the following questions before choosing a primer. Your decision will likely be based on your answers to several of the questions below.

1. Of course I want my students to learn to decode Hebrew; now, in what order do I want to introduce the letters?
      I like teaching look-alike letters together:
          Derech Binah
      The order doesn't matter to me:
          New Siddur Program
          Sam the Detective
      I want to use key cultural words (shabbat, shalom, tzedakah, shamash) as the driver for new letters and vowels:
          Shalom Uvrachah
          Shalom Uvrachah Primer Express
      I want a mix of cultural and modern Hebrew words (bimah, abba, havdalah, sukkah, melech). And, in addition, I want to teach letters that SOUND ALIKE TOGETHER (tet and tav; sin and samech) but letters that LOOK ALIKE—and can be confused—FAR APART ( dalet and resh; bet and kaf):
          Alef Bet Quest
          Zman Likro Vol 1 and 2

2. How important is it to me that students have online games and other digital activities to extend their learning into their homes?
      I am fine without a digital component:
          Derech Binah
          New Siddur Program
          Sam the Detective
          Zman Likro Vol 1 and 2
      An add-on, optional digital component is what I'm looking for:
      I want a seamlessly integrated, built-in digital component:
          Alef Bet Quest

3. Is it important to me that my students learn to write Hebrew letters?
      Yes, I want to teach block print:
          Alef Bet Quest
          New Siddur Program plus print workbook
          Shalom Uvrachah Print Edition
          Zman Likro Vol 1 and 2
      Yes, I want to teach script:

4. Do I have time and/or is it a priority to include some modern Hebrew in our primer year?
      No:
          Derech Binah
          New Siddur Program
          Sam the Detective
          Shalom Uvrachah

5. How much time do we have for in-school Hebrew learning in a week?
      We have 45 min–1 hour of Hebrew a week:
          Alef Bet Quest
          New Siddur Program
          Sam the Detective
          Shalom Uvrachah Primer Express
      We have 1 1/4 –2 hours of Hebrew a week:
          Derech Binah
          Shalom Uvrachah
          Zman Likro Vol 1 and 2

6. Do I have many students with special needs or I just like very little on a page, e.g., one activity per page?
      No, my students can manage any primer:
          Alef Bet Quest
          New Siddur Program
          Shalom Uvrachah
          Shalom Uvrachah Primer Express
          Zman Likro Vol 1 and 2
      Yes:
          Derech Binah
          Sam the Detective

How to Choose a Hebrew Series:

Ask yourself the following questions before choosing a Hebrew series. Your decision will likely be based on your answers to several of the questions below.

1. Do I want my students to learn prayer Hebrew, modern language, or a combination?
      Just prayer with no modern Hebrew component:
          Hineni
      Just modern Hebrew with no prayer component:
          Shalom Ivrit
      Prayer with an optional modern Hebrew add-on:
          Hineni with Ulpan Alef and Ulpan Bet
          Hineni with Let's Talk
      Modern Hebrew with an optional prayer add-on:
      Prayer with a taste of modern Hebrew words:
          Kol Yisrael
      A combination of prayer and modern Hebrew in each volume:
          New Siddur Program
          Z'man L'Tefilah

2. In what order do I want to teach the prayers? Do I want to follow the order of the Shabbat morning prayer service, teach the prayers in our school's own order, or begin with the easiest prayers?
      Follow the order of the prayer service:
          Hineni
          Kol Yisrael
          Z'man L'Tefilah
      Our school's own order:
          Hineni Prayer Booklets
          Kol Yisrael Complete
      Begin with the easiest prayers:
          New Siddur Program

3. How much time do we have for in-school Hebrew learning in a week?
      We have 1–1½ hours of Hebrew a week:
          Hineni
          Hineni Prayer Booklets
          Kol Yisrael
      We have 2–3 hours of Hebrew a week:
          New Siddur Program
          Shalom Ivrit
          Z'man L'Tefilah

4. Is it important to me that my students progress individually at their own pace?
      No:
Use other criteria to select your Hebrew series (see other questions)
      Yes:
          Hineni Prayer Booklets with Self-Guided Hineni
          Reinforcement activities
          Additional worksheets

5. How important is it to me that students have online games and other digital activities to extend their learning into their homes?
      I am fine without a digital component:
          New Siddur Program
          Z'man L'Tefilah
      An add-on, optional digital component is what I'm looking for:
      I want a seamlessly integrated, built-in digital component:
          Kol Yisrael

6. Assessment is important to me. What are the best tools to assess students' progress?
      Post-primer and all Hebrew series, decoding accuracy:
          Hebrew Reading Assessment
      Quick-click online assessment:
          Hineni
          Kol Yisrael
      Printed lesson-by-lesson review sheets:
          Hineni
          Kol Yisrael
      Printed end-of-year assessment sheets:
          Hineni
      Online lesson-by-lesson review sheets:
          Kol Yisrael
      Students can email their online results to their teacher:
          Kol Yisrael

7. Do I want any additional tools to help ensure that my students become fluent readers?
      No:
          Hineni Interactive and Kol Yisrael motivate students to practice at home with click-and-listen and practice-aloud reading activities and games; no additional reinforcement necessary
      Yes:
          Back-to-School Hebrew Reading Refresher, Ten-Minute Reader 1 and 2, and I Can Read Hebrew all provide additional fun Hebrew reading practice
          Hineni Family Companions allow parents to practice with their children with transliteration pages for parents