We started learning Arabic three years ago when my oldest son was in first grade and my younger son was only 4. I searched out different Arabic programs, but most were religious. We are not Muslim so I wanted a resource that was secular. We started out with exposure to some vocabulary and Arabic writing the first year using a couple of odds and ends I pulled together. When my older was in second grade and my younger son was in Kindergarten I decided to start using Alif Baa. It is a program that is often used in colleges as an introduction to Arabic. Because it was not designed for kids I decided to use it as a guide for me to teach them Arabic. We spent an entire school year getting acquainted with Arabic letters and the sounds they made. We practiced the Alif Baa alphabet song. Here is one of their favorites:
They also enjoyed learning about Arabic letters by watching Youtube videos like:
We sang this song quite a bit that year when we learned the alphabet. My youngest was a baby and it became a song that comforted her to sleep. As I was getting the embed code for this video just now it started playing and that former baby (now 3) ran over to my computer and started singing the alphabet song. I guess she still likes it.
When my boys were in grade 3 and 1 we started going through Alif Baa Unit 1 together. Our progress was slow and steady. Alif Baa mainly deals with learning the alphabet and how to read and write Arabic so I decided to add in Arabian Sinbad for understanding Arabic and learning to say words and phrases. I’ll only address Alif Baa in this post. I will talk about Arabian Sinbad in another post, but in short I am happy with both programs. Toward the end of the school year I found the need to separate my boys. The older one was ready to move faster and the younger one needed more time.
The Alif Baa we are using has three parts – A textbook, an answer key, and a CD-ROM. All three are essential for us. Alif Baa goes through the different letters and explains and shows how they are produced. It gives you practice listening to the sound and practice writing it in isolation and in words.
We only spend about an hour a week on Alif Baa. My younger son spends even less time. Because of this our progress is slow, but steady. We spend more time on Arabic using Arabian Sinbad each week. Each child is at a different place in the textbook. The CD-ROM is pretty much used the entire lesson. Here is the spot where my younger son is working.
The instruction on how to write is a video of a man writing letters or words on the line. The information is also in the textbook. The man only talks in Arabic, but the text gives enough information so we know what he is saying.
This little book is very important and necessary. It is the answer key. I couldn’t use the program without it.
At our current pace my older son should come close to finishing Alif Baa this school year and my younger son should finish the year after that. At this point the plan is to move onto the next book in the series.
I use Alif Baa with Multimedia 2nd edition. A 3rd edition is now available.