I grew up with my own literacy learning challenges; reading never came easy.
I discovered my passion for reading and literacy learning after college. I empathize with the children that are going through the same struggles I had experienced. My struggle became my passion! I find lots of pleasure in identifying and applying solutions that help children succeed in learning to read Hebrew and English.
As a young girl, I dreamed of becoming a designer. It was sort of an “accident” that I pursued a masters’ degree in Special Education at Daemen College and earned a license to practice special education in NY State under the DOE. I thought it was a temporary pathway only to be used to finance a career in design. But when I taught a struggling first-grade student how to read, I found so much meaning and inspiration. Without realizing it, I discovered a deep curiosity that has captivated me ever since.
I received advanced literacy training from Columbia University, Bankstreet College, Lindamood Bell, and Orton Gillingham approaches such as PAF and Wilson. Learning more and more about literacy instruction, and applying new insights and tools to my practice with children was incredibly rewarding and eye-opening.
I saw my young self in my students and my natural curiosity about the literacy learning process kept me compassionately and patiently at my toes trying to help children learn.
Drawing on my experiences and professional training as a classroom teacher, special education coordinator, graduate-level professor of reading, and mom of six, I felt ready to blend academic structure with a nurturing sensitivity to open Scenic Route Literacy, an English literacy intervention clinic in Crown Height, Brooklyn.
I would figure out why children were struggling, then designed, implemented and lead interventions that would allow the learners to reach grade expectation in the most enjoyable and efficient way possible.
Parents were asking for these same supports for Hebrew literacy.
After more than a decade immersed in English instruction, I came to Hebrew instruction armed with insight and training in the literacy learning process. Obviously, this instruction was different as it had an added component. I wasn’t just teaching literacy, I was teaching Torah.
I curated and created a collection of decodable activities for words, sentences, and stories, with picture supports, and used them in conjunction with the traditional method for Kriah. Children experienced leaps and bounds of success in a matter of weeks. Their sudden love for reading and their ability to meet expectations were amazing.
As I tried demonstrate how a language-based approach to Hebrew literacy is feasible and worthwhile, sharing these practices were complex. Aside from understand the big picture and all the details of the literacy learning process, one would have to assemble materials from tens of places, and then implement these systems while progress monitoring, troubleshooting and navigating through lots of parts. We needed to make this easier for everyone!
When it comes to English literacy, there are mountains of research, standards, online communities, textbooks, published programs, and blogs available for new teachers and experienced clinicians. This is a stark contrast to what is available for Lashon Hakodesh/ Hebrew literacy, or Kriah.
While there are a handful of educators who are scientifically exploring how to teach Hebrew as a foreign language, there hasn’t been an easy system for educators to follow. We needed a system that is accessible and easy for everyone.
I wanted a curriculum where children can experience the rush of joy when they successfully read a story that they understand. In the summer of 2021, we decided to take the plunge and build a Hebrew literacy curriculum beyond your wildest dream.
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The Foundational Pillars of Early LiteracyFrom Screeners to Progress MonitoringThe Building Blocks of LearningUniversal Design of LearningStructured Phonics vs. Balanced LiteracyReading FluencyCurating Libraries for Reading Stamina & EngagementMulti-Sensory Simultaneous Instruction
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