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Let's Talk! Modern Hebrew for Teens

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Let's Talk! Modern Hebrew for Teens

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Let's Talk!
Modern Hebrew for Teens

Dialogues by Pearl Tarnor and Nili Ziv
Activities by Nina Woldin
Behrman House Publishers, 2006
ISBN: 978-0-87441-782-1

Reviewed by Simone Bonim - February 8, 2010

Let's Talk! Modern Hebrew for Teens is a lively and energetic textbook for students studying Hebrew. The book consists of fifteen lessons which contain dialogues and exercises. All the material in this book is unified around the adventures of four young teenagers traveling in Israel.

The four principal characters are Maya who is from New York, Ben who is from Mexico, Dinah who is from Canada, and Daniel who is from Los Angels. The four are brought together in the very first lesson when they meet in a New York airport before boarding their flight to Israel. From there we follow them on their many adventures as they tour Israel. These range from Maya having her bat mitzvah in Israel to Ben and Dinah staying at a Kibbutz. While the teens have many adventures on their own, they also have several as a group, including meeting up in Tel Aviv and sharing a meal together, traveling to the Eilat together and taking a trip on a glass bottom boat, floating in the Dead Sea, visiting Masada, and visiting a shuk (market) in Be'er-Sheva.

All the dialogs in this book are in vowelized Hebrew, and each includes a vocabulary list in English and Hebrew. In addition, Let's Talk also includes a nice selection of fun to complete exercises that help reinforce the vocabulary learned in the dialogs. Instructions for these exercises are given in English, however all the exercises are designed to be completed in Hebrew. There are a wide variety of exercises in this book and they run the gamut from complete the sentences and answering questions based on the dialogs to crossword puzzles and playing charades based upon sentences provided in the text.

Let's Talk is a fun book to read, and a great way of motivating teenage learners! It can also be used effectively for any group, including adults, if they are not too stodgy! The dialogs all reflect popular usage in Israel, and they give students a nice change from traditional textbooks. As a teacher, this is a great book because it is a rather short book (only fifteen lessons), allowing it to be used as the sole textbook in a given quarter or semester, or as a supplemental text in a year long program. As well, to the text, Let's Talk! Live is also available. This is a CD with live audio recordings of all fifteen Hebrew dialogues from the Let's Talk textbook. The CD can be used in both a classroom setting and as an at-home study aid.

It is hard for me to place a specific grade level on this book, but it should fit in well with both sixth and seven grade classes, with a little wiggle room on both ends of the spectrum. The text is geared toward a teenage/pre-teen audience. It gives you the option of using it alone or as a supplemental text, and it can be easily integrated into classes using a number of different textbooks. For example, Let's Talk meshes well with the later chapters of book 2, as well as with book 3, of Nili Ziv's Shalom Ivrit series. To see where it would fit in with your curriculum, you can view a couple of sample chapters from the text on the Behrman House website.

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