Are you trying to choose a good kriah (Hebrew reading) CD for your kids, but you’re confused about which to buy? It can be hard to find detailed information about what each CD offers. Since our family recently bought a new kriah CD, we thought we’d share our experiences with the two that we own. Hopefully this review will help other families choose which one is best for their family.
Kriyah Coach is a new CD that was created as a way to raise money for tzedakah. It assumes that kids already know the alef-beis; there’s a quick alef-beis review you can click on, with video footage of a rebbe and his class pointing to the osios and reviewing them, but that’s all that’s offered for alef-beis. The CD’s focus is on learning the nekudah sounds and learning to blend. For each nekudah, there’s a 3-step approach: first, a computer-animated scene with characters introducing the nekudah; second, video footage of Rabbi Henoch Potash teaching that nekudah to his class; and third, a brief exercise for the child to practice with.
The pronunciation used is mainstream yeshivish.
Overall, Kriyah Coach is cute–the little boys in Rabbi Potash’s class are adorable, and the animated characters interest kids–but it doesn’t offer a lot of practice.
Alef Bet Adventure is a CD that’s been around for a while. It focuses on the alef-beis, nekudos, and blending. There’s a little bit of Hebrew vocabulary taught as well at the end.
For each letter, you can click to see its name, its shape, and its sound. Then there are exercises to practice the new letter while simultaneously reviewing the letters already learned. The same process is used for learning the nekudos. So the program is structured and sequential, with tons of review. There are also exercises which help kids practice letters that look similar and are commonly confused.
There are many hours’ worth of exercises in Alef Bet Adventure. I do wish that animation or exciting graphics or something fun were integrated into some of the exercises, because they’re simply black and white and workbook-esque, but overall the exercises are good. My son likes being able to click and check whether he was right or not, rather than waiting to hear from a parent. Doing an activity on the computer is a welcome change from flashcards and the like.
Bottom line? For a kiddo who’s really struggling in kriah and needs a lot of practice, Alef Bet Adventure is definitely the more useful CD. Kriyah Coach would be good for kids who just need a little kriah review, but aren’t struggling. Links to Amazon are provided for convenience but first try your local Jewish booksellers.