Ok, so Arabic’s not your first language, but you know you should teach it to your kids so that they can read the Quraan and authentic Islamic texts.
If you’re just starting out, you may be scratching your head, wondering where to begin, and how to teach.
Insha Allah, TJ tips and resources can help.
1. Know why you should teach Arabic
Understand the importance of teaching Arabic to your student and its benefits. Insha Allah, this will help make teaching Arabic a priority for you.
2. Determine your goals for learning Arabic
Are you teaching your child Arabic so that he/she can read the Quraan and Islamic texts?
Do you want your child to learn conversational Arabic?
Do you want your child to learn Arabic grammar?
I once read an article online that insisted that children do not need to know the Arabic terms for words such as lemon or taxi. The author’s position was that if you were going to read the Quraan, this type of vocabulary was not necessary. Point taken. However, if you are intending on making hijrah or living in an Arabic speaking country, then it may be important to know terms like these.
Both goals have very different means for attaining them, so you need to decide what your goals are because this will affect what type of curriculum you need.
If you are just looking for a program or means to teach your child to read the Quraan, than you don’t need him/her to be bogged down with unrelated material.
If you want your student to be fluent in Arabic speaking, you need a curriculum rich in vocabulary and conversational Arabic and you need to make sure that you try to use that conversation in everyday life, as much as possible. You will want to choose a program that is arranged by topics and not grammatical concepts for conversational speaking. Grammar should be incorporated naturally into the topic, not the other way around for this goal. Also, try to give student plenty of opportunity to hear spoken Arabic from native speakers. Provide lots of real life applications and practice.
If you want your child to learn the rules of grammar, my suggestion is not to mix it into the conversation/oral fluency curriculum. As an Arabic as a second language learner, I have found that I tend to get too bogged down in the grammar aspects when it comes to speaking and thus I think it slows me down in communicating orally. These are two different goals and thus (in my opinion) require two different teaching methods.
3. Choose a curriculum or make your own.
Now that you have identified your goals for teaching Arabic (and it can be all three), set out to find programs that match these needs. This should be easier, insha Allah, now that you have separated them out instead of simply saying, I want my child to learn Arabic.
Two programs/books that I have used with success, masha Allah are:
Out of the two, I really liked the second as it contained over 100 easy lessons. I didn’t get to use this extensively as my son lost it in the masjid, but I really liked the way it laid the lessons out. If I could get it again, I would. There are other books by the same title in different bookstores, so if you are looking for this one, look for this author.
So, we really ended up going with the first one for most of the instruction for my two oldest children. Although it is for ages 7 and up, I felt that more time should have been spent on the alphabet itself, at least for younger children. Once the alphabet is learned, I felt the book was excellent. I think only one word out of the given words for reading throughout the book is not in the Quraan. The book also came with a couple of Arabic alphabet charts, flashcards, and tapes. I do recommend this one as well.
Other than that, having been in Yemen for a while, I have picked up Arabic books from Arabic authors. My only problem (well not really a problem) with these is that I think they present ways of learning that are foreign to American students and I prefer to jazz things up a bit as well as provide more drill.
There is one book called, Iqra Qiratee, that is used a lot here, especially in Damaaj. I like the beginning of the book as it provides what I feel is much needed drill for the alphabet. ( I go for old fashioned ways of learning, I’m a fan of drill) So I usually use the beginning of the book where it teaches the alphabet in drill form, and then switch to the Easy Steps in Quraan Reading or other material to continue.
If you don’t have the means to purchase a curriculum, then make your own. Takes a little more work, but you can suit it to fit your teaching style and your student’s learning style, insha Allah. Resources on the ‘net abound, masha Allah and between finding them and making your own resources, I think you can put together a decent curriculum, bi ithnillah.
I am currently working on pulling together resources for learning Arabic:
So far this is an outline of a sequence to teach students to read and write Arabic. I have also began to place links for related materials. It also includes an outline for setting up an Arabic study session if you want to structure your lessons.
Here is a tentative outline of what I hope to cover. I thought it might be handy so I am posting it now (1/2008), even though I have not fully developed the materials yet. I hope to have a lesson completed for the first item soon, insha Allah.
TJ has grammar resources such as lessons, to grammar lessons, and a few grammar related printables.
If you’d like to refer to this article in the future, you can find it here, insha Allah.