A Multi-sensory Approach to Language Learning
The Gateways Hebrew program is a multi-sensory approach to Hebrew decoding and is designed to make the learning process accessible and intuitive for students with diverse abilities. The program helps students make a connection between the way a letter looks and the way a letter sounds. To do this, students assign each letter a mnemonic trick and a visual cue. For example, the letter ג has the mnemonic ‘is Going for the Goal,’ and it is first presented to students appearing this way:
Students then color in a flash card so that it matches the example. In many classes, we also teach students movements that reinforce the mnemonic. For letter ג, a teacher may bring in a ball and create a goal area in their classroom. When each student has a turn to go for the goal, they are prompted to say ‘ג.’ This combination of hearing the mnemonic, seeing the visual cue, enacting the movement, and saying the sound assists students in making a connection between the way a letter looks and the way a letter sounds. This method is effective because the letters themselves provide clues that help students remember the sounds they make.
The Gateways method teaches Hebrew letters out of alphabetical order. This allows us to separate letters that are easily confused for each other, such as shin and sin or bet and vet. Students therefore learn one letter and master it before encountering the other letter several lessons later.
Using the Gateways Hebrew Program
Many of the materials used at Gateways can be purchased through cantoreducator.com. These materials include blank sets of flash cards for students and instructors’ sets of flash cards that list the mnemonic for each letter and show how the letter should look when it is colored in. These materials were originally developed to be used in conjunction with the Zman Likro workbooks and the reading exercises we use are adapted from these books. However, the flash cards can be used with any systematic reading curriculum.
Bringing the Program to Your School
For instructors in the Boston area who are interested in learning how to implement the Gateways Hebrew program in their own schools, Gateways provides both beginner-level and advanced-level Hebrew trainings for area schools. If you are outside the Boston area, send us a message to discuss remote training options.
Frequently Asked Questions
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Categories: Professional Development Resources