The Jewish Eye
The New Siddur Program for Hebrew and Heritage Series
Reviewed by Simon Bonim - February 13, 2008
The New Siddur Program for Hebrew and Heritage is a comprehensive Hebrew language program for students in grade 1-8 that concentrates on developing the necessary Hebrew skills for students to understand, read, and use the Siddur (prayer book) alone and during religious services. The program consists of a series of textbooks and workbooks, along with auxiliary material such as posters and teacher guides. Throughout, the series provides ample practice exercises and reading sections for the student to gain a proficient grasp of the material and 'checkpoint' exercises are also found throughout which enable students to judge their own progress and grasp of the material. The program is designed for use within a Hebrew School setting. However, it can also be used effectively by homeschoolers.
The primary books in the program include:
In its entirety, The New Siddur Program for Hebrew and Heritage is an excellent program for teaching the Siddur to students in both an academic and home setting. Published by Behrman House Publisher, this series provides ample auxiliary and supplemental materials that makes this series a pleasure to use by both teachers and students. It provides enough flexibility to make it useful in both full-time as well as after-school and Sunday school educational programs. In addition Behrman House has also published: Managing the New Siddur Program: The Educational Director's Guide, a guide that will help you to best tailor this program for your school or educational program.
- Reading Readiness (Grade Level: 1-2)
To prepare the student to begin reading Hebrew, this Reading Readiness text teaches the students the names and sounds of the Hebrew alef bet via a picture dictionary format. A basic vocabulary and practice writing print Hebrew is also provided. A teacher's guide and flash cards are available for this volume.
- Primer (Grade Level: 2-3)
The primer consists of 40 lessons that prepare students to read Hebrew. Each lesson concentrates on a single letter or word, with each lesson building upon the previous until the student has a firm grasp of the Hebrew alphabet, it sounds, and how to sound-out Hebrew words and phrases that they cannot already read. A teacher's edition, alef bet flash cards, word cards, practice and review workbook, alef bet posters, and even more supplementary materials are available that will enhance the students' study of this primer.
- L'Hamshich: A Transitional Text
While not technically one of the main books in this series, L'Hamshich is a text that is designed to help the student transition from the above mentioned primer to Book One in The New Siddur Program for Hebrew and Heritage. This volume includes reading practice, will help build the students vocabulary and can be used as a quick review for students new to the The New Siddur Program, or as a quick review for those who forgot a little too much over summer vacation!
- Book One (Grade Level: 4-5)
In the first main book in this series, students begin to study the Siddur in earnest, via a combination of prayers, practice exercises, and stories that not only elucidate the prayers but which also provide insights into their Jewish heritage. A teacher's edition, Book 1: Prayer Reading Skills Workbook, script writing vocabulary workbook, prayer charts, holiday curriculum, and word cards are available that coincide with this volume.
- Book Two (Grade Level: 5-6)
In this volume, students work on developing their comprehension and reading skills, and they continue on developing their Siddur vocabulary. A teacher's edition, Book 2: Prayer Reading Skills Workbook, and selection of word cards for this book are also available.
- Book Three (Grade Level: 6-7)
Each lesson in this volume begins with a prayer and concludes with a short story. In between, the student will encounter numerous exercises that will help to reinforce the material already studied. These exercises run the gamut from comprehension exercises and word matching to writing exercises and translation exercises. A Teacher's edition, Torah Skills Workbook, and word cards are also available for this edition.
- Honor Level 4 (Grade Level: 6-8)
This is the final book in the The New Siddur Program for Hebrew and Heritage and building upon the students previous years of study, the students learn the prayers associated with Yom Kippur and Passover. A teacher's guide is also available for this volume.
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