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Learning to Read Hebrew

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Learning to Read Hebrew

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Learning to Read Hebrew
A Complete Course in Reading Hebrew on CD-ROM
By Deborah Beyer
Davka Corporation, 1995

Reviewed by Rochelle Caviness - May 14, 2002

If you are just beginning the study of Hebrew, or if you are in need of a quick refresher course before you begin more advanced study, this CD from Davka may be just what you are looking for. Even if you've never read a single letter of Hebrew before, by the time you finish working through the ten lessons contained on this CD-ROM you will find that you are reading sentences with ease.

During the ten lessons on the CD, you will be introduced to all the letters in the Hebrew alphabet, and all the vowels. In each case you are taught the sound of each letter, and each vowel, and the sound created when a particular letter and vowel are combined. All the letters, vowels, and words on this CD are read aloud by Deborah Beyer and Talli Rosenbaum. To hear a letter, vowel, or word read, you simply click on it. The voices are very clear, and they use the Sephardic pronunciation used in Israel.

Building upon this foundation, you will begin to read 'real' words (not baby sounds). And to help you along, each lesson includes a practice reading section. Each lesson concludes with a review section that will ask you a series of questions that cover the material learned. To complete this sections, all you need do is type in your answers to the questions, and then click the 'check answer' button to find out how you did. Once you are familiar with all the material in each lesson, you can advance to the next lesson. And, if you ever feel the need to go back and review a previous lesson, the menu interface allows you to easily navigate back and forth throughout all the lessons, and other material contained on this CD.

Besides the ten lessons contained on this CD, there is also a comprehensive review section that covers all the material taught in the lessons. In addition, this review section also contains advanced reading selections, and a list of the names of the letters of the Hebrew Alphabet. For those wanting a little more 'fun', there are also four memory-matching games, that will effortless help you to review your knowledge of all your letters and vowels.

This CD was evaluated on a computer running Windows. However, a MAC version of this CD is also available from Davka Corporation. The set up was quick and easy. You simply insert the disc and follow the prompts. Once the initial installation is completed, a small icon will appear on your desktop. To run the program, simply insert the disc in your CD-ROM drive, and then click on the program's icon. A window that lists all the lessons, reviews, and game selections will appear - simply click on the section or lesson that you want to study. In addition, this CD also comes with Israeli background music that you can turn on or off from this main menu.

This CD is suitable for both kids and adults, and is great for a quick review or first introduction to Hebrew. It is also an excellent, and quick means of learning the Hebrew alphabet if you are about to take a Hebrew course that requires that you be familiar with the alphabet before starting the class. Throughout, the lessons are detailed, but without being overwhelming, and it provides you with a great deal of practice in speaking and reading Hebrew. The only drawback to this CD is that while it teaches you Hebrew using real words, it does not provide a list of translations. Consequently, if you don't know any Hebrew, you'll not know what you've read until you advance a little further in your studies. However, it will not take you long to advance. Using the knowledge gained form this CD you should be able to read, phonetically, any Hebrew text that you come across. Building on this solid foundation, you will be able to quickly acquire a substantial vocabulary - either through further self study or with the aid of a teacher.

System Requirements:

If you are using the Windows Version of this program:
PC with Windows 95/98/ME/NT/2000/XP, 4MB RAM, CD-ROM Drive, Sound Card

And the MAC versions of this program requires:
Requires Macintosh with System 7.5.3 or higher, 16 MB RAM and CD-ROM drive

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