Alhamdulillah! My nine year old has finally learned the Arabic alphabet. He took his imtihaan (test) today and passed, masha Allah. It is such a cause for happiness around here as I started about 4 or 5 years ago and we never finished, subhanAllah. We would stop and start, stop and start and I really hadn’t done any Arabic with him in the last two years.
We started back last Jumuah with a book that we purchased in Damaaj called Iqra Qiraati. It was written by two Indonesian brothers. Now we’ve had this book for quite some time, about three years, as well as various other books so why this time were we able to get through? Well, Allah only knows for sure, but I have a few thoughts as to why…..
We BOTH were motivated this time. My son was motivated because I offered a monetary reward for learning all the letters. I was motivated a little more strongly this time then ever before by the fact that my son was getting older and still did not know how to read Quraan. I thought this is one of my most important responsibilities as a Muslim mom to teach my children the language of the Quraan. Plus I believe that it is easier to memorize on your own as you get older if you can read it yourself to memorize it.
I stuck with a more traditional method this time. In the past, we have done things like letter of the week, etc. I think those are great for younger kids, maybe, but in this book, we did old fashioned drills. The book starts out with a fatha on the letters and just gives rows and rows of drills per page. Well, I like to start off with letter recognition only, so we just started out doing the drills but disregarding the fathas. Now the letters are just stand alone forms, that he has memorized at this point so we still have to work on the different forms. But hey, I am happy at this point, masha Allah.
We did drills after almost every salaat more or less. We kept counting down the letters that he had left to learn. He was almost always the one to initiate sitting down and doing the drills. There were no bells and whistles, just drill, but I think because we were both motivated t his time, that that, in part, led to our success, Allahu ilm.
So I pray that Allah gives us continued success and helps us to keep pushing on. I think one of the things too that I have had problems with is that I keep switching books. This one has this feature and this one teaches this way, so I use more than one book. I still intend to switch between the three or so books I have but what is different this time is that I have set up a schedule and wrote down in sequence which book I was going to use for learning this and which for that. Another book that I am using is Easy Steps in Quraan Reading published by MELS. I have had this book for ages and I really like it. The main thing that keeps me from using this book solely is that I didn’t feel it provided enough practice with the alphabet itself. I like to use drills, as I have found them very effective. Other than not enough alphabet practice, in my opinion, I highly recommend that book because it is pretty inexpensive and I think all words, but one are found in the Quraan and you even get some rules of tajweed in there. It does have a tape for all the drills, which although we lost some years back, was very helpful. Plus a lot of supplemental material (alphabet chart, flashcards). We bought it as a set some years ago.
Another excellent book, Yasurnal Quraan ( Quraan Made Easy) by Shabbir Behlim. I think was my all time favorite. My oldest was doing so well with this book until he lost it at the masjid several years back. I highly recommend it. It had a lot of lessons/exercises.
And I also use a book that was written by an Egyptian author but we purchased here. It’s something like Beginning Pictured Arabic Reader (well that’s my translation of the title).
And lastly, too I think that sometimes kids are just not ready for certain things, the timing is not right. Like with phonics. I truly believe in teaching phonics, but sometimes little kids are just not ready, so I back off for a while and pick it back up later on insha Allah……..
As I was browsing through the web, for the links above, I came across Halalco from which I had ordered some books before in the past. They have quite an offering of Arabic books so you might want to check that out if you are shopping around for Arabic materials…Halalco
And I have never ordered books from here before Islamic Bookstore, but they have quite an offering too.
Also, check around your public library (if you are blessed to have one), Over the years, I had come across several useful books that I used to learn Arabic myself….