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10/2015
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The Road to Reading Arabic


Compared to English, Arabic is much more phonetic.  In the majority of words, you can sound out the words, there are few exceptions. In that respect, learning to read Arabic is ultimately a matter of learning its phonics, you learn the sounds and put them together to make the words.

On this page you will find:

1) links to books teaching how to read Arabic
2) A sample scope & sequence for teaching Arabic reading and beginning grammar.

Books to teach Arabic reading

Sample Arabic Reading & Beginning Grammar Scope & Sequence

Below is a sample sequence you can follow in teaching your children to read Arabic. This is just one example but most of it follows along with methods from several Arabic learning books that we've used or come across.

For several of the topics, I have resources that I created and I am in the process of adding links to them below.  Some of my resources are lessons and some are just supplemental. I think for continuity, it's ideal to follow from one book like those above, but sometimes there wasn't enough practice for me, so I either created a whole lesson or just supplemental practice/activities. PLEASE NOTE: The links in the scope and sequence below do not follow the outline, they are just links to resources I have made/found on that particular topic that is linked. Sometimes there are lessons, sometimes there are just supplemental practice resources.

I. Arabic Alphabet I – Standalone forms

You can choose to teach the standalone forms first or you can choose all the forms (beginning, middle, end) first. I've always preferred teaching the standalone forms first. Most of the Arabic textbooks that I've come across don't devote a lot of lessons/time to the alphabet so I have always felt the need to make up my own lessons to give lots of practice.
  • Introduction to Arabic Language/alphabet (# of letters, that it is written from right to left; that it is the language of Islam and the Quraan.)
  • Alif, Baa, Taa, Thaa
  • Jeem, Haa, Khaa
  • Review
  • Daal, Dhaal
  • Raa, Zaa
  • Seen, Sheen
  • Review Lesson
  • Saad, Daad 
  • Taw, Thaw
  • Ein, Ghein
  • Review lesson
  • Faa, Qaaf
  • Kaaf, Laam 
  • Meem, Noon 
Order of Teaching the Letters
Some people do not like teach similar letters together as it may confuse children when letters look alike except that the dot (nuqtah) configuration is different. I don't remember having this problem with my kids so I teach similar letters together. Another reason I like to teach the similar letters together is that similar letters have similar forms in the beginning, middle and end. So when they are learning connected forms, it just makes sense to me to teach like letters together.

I also like to teach the letters in order to reinforce alphabetical order (knowing the order sure makes looking up words in an Arabic dictionary easier which I did a lot while learning Arabic).

These are just my preferences.

Another Approach:
A sister once suggested, and I think I've come across in a book or two, is to teach teach the vowels, fathah, kasrah, and dammah early with the alphabet so that as students learn the letters, they can begin sounding out words or parts of words even as they learn the letters. I think this is a good idea if you have a textbook that teaches this way, but most I have come across don't and I tried to do this once with my son, but it was too hard as I had to make up the lessons and it was very time consuming for me.

II. Arabic Alphabet II– Connected Forms 

  • Introduction to Arabic alphabet forms
  • Alif
  • Baa, Taa, Thaa
  • Jeem, Haa, Khaa
  • Daal, Dhaal
  • Raa, Zaa
  • Seen, Sheen
  • Review Lesson
  • Saad, Daad
  • Taw, Thaw
  • Ein, Ghein
  • Review lesson
  • Faa, Qaaf
  • Kaaf, Laam
  • Meem, Noon
  • Review Lesson
  • Haa, Waw, Ya
  • Final Review 

Numerals

  • 0-10 (you might want to break it down further such as 0-5, 6-10 for younger kids, do two numbers at a time, or even just one number at a time for the lower numbers)
  • 11-20
  • Review
  • 20-99Lesson 5: 100-999
  • Review
  • 1000
  • Review 

IV. Short Vowels

  • Introduction to Short Vowels
  • Fat-hah/Reading with Fat-hah
  • Kas-rah/Reading with kas-rah
  • Review: Fat-hah and Kas-rah 
  • Dam-mah/Reading with Dam-mah 
  • Reading with fat-hah, dam-mah, and kas-rah

Sukoon

  • Meaning of Sukoon/Reading with Sukoon

VI. Long Vowels

  • Introduction to long vowels
  • Long vowel: fat-hah/alif
  • Long vowel: dam-mah/wow
  • Long vowel: kas-rah/yaa
  • Review

VII. Tanween

  • Introduction to Tanween
  • Dammah Tanween
  • Kasrah Tanween
  • Review
  • Fathah Tanween
  • Review

VIII. Shaddah

  • Introduction to shaddah
  • Shaddah with Fathah
  • Shaddah with dammah
  • Shaddah with kasrah
  • Review
  • Shaddah with tanween
  • Review

IX. Sun and Moon Letters

  • Introduction to Sun and Moon Letters
  • Moon Letters
  • Sun Letters
  • Review
  • Definite/Indefinite
  • Review
Beginning Grammar

X. Parts of Speech

  • Introduction to the Parts of Speech
  • The Ism: Types of Isms (beginning level)
  • Gender
  • Definiteness/Indefiniteness
  • Describing Words Must Match Words They Describe 
  • Detached Pronouns
  • Attached Pronouns – attached to nouns to show possession
  • Ism Review
  • The Harf: Introduction
  • The Effect of Harf preceding words
  • The Harf with attached pronouns
  • The Verb: The 3 Verb Tenses
  • The Past tense verb/conjugating
  • The Present tense verb
  • The “Future tense verb”
  • Review Lesson
  • Final Review

XI. Types of Sentences

  • Jumlatul Ismiyyah
  • Jumlatul Fi’liyyah
  • Review

XII.Using Numbers (in context)

  • Number review
  • Using cardinal numbers
  • Ordinal numbers
  • Review


Tips for Teaching Reading: Repeated Reading


(from TJ Companion blog, circa 2007)

We use a technique called repeated reading for English.  You select a small passage (paragraph or sentences) and repeatedly read the selection until you can read it with no mistakes.  With my children, I usually model the reading of the passage to let them hear when I am pausing, emphasizing certain words, etc.

I have found that repeated reading works very well with increasing fluency in Arabic as well (for my children as well as myself).  We have been reading from Suratul Kahf every Jumuah.  We started off with the first five ayaat, then moved up to the next five, etc.  I notice that the ayaat that we have read repeatedly over the year and a half we have been reading it, are more fluent and we make less mistakes. (it also helped with memorization) The newer ayaat are choppy at first but then get better with the repeated readings.


For using repeated reading for Quraan, I find that it is best to pick  ayaat that you have not memorized, otherwise, when you read, you are pretty much going upon what you have memorized.

In English in our homeschool, we do about 3-5 repeated readings at a sitting and I time the kids so they can see how much they improve. You can do this for Arabic as well. In the beginning stages, while kids are learning to read Arabic words, use reading drills (I have some sprinkled throughout the resources above) and time those drills.