As Thing 1 finishes up her Purple Aleph book, I have to wonder what the next step is. Because Thing 1 does not learn well in a vacuum, she can never become fluent in reading a language she doesn't understand. This, of course, turns Kriah into the equivalent of Chinese water torture--for both of us.
So, I started cheating a little bit. I taught her what a few of the words mean (I would teach her more, but I can barely speak Hebrew either), and how to look for word roots in what she reads. By doing so, Thing 1 has turned reading into a game. And we avoid the wailing and gnashing of teeth on everyone's end.
The next book in the Aleph Champ series is the Brown Aleph. This one, like the Purple Aleph she's finishing up, uses tefillos as reading practice. (Which makes sense, because kids are usually somewhat familiar with what they hear in shul.) However, with few exceptions, most of them are completely foreign to Thing 1, and we're back to torture time. (In all honesty, I can't even read one of them.). So, while we'll still use the book for practice, Builder and I decided that Thing 1 was ready for her first non-illustrated siddur. I, of course, had picked out the one I wanted months ago, the Artscroll Chaim Shlomo Chinuch Siddur (Nusach Sefard, of course.) Builder went and picked it up today. (Builder prefers buying sefarim at Berman's Bookstore--or as I call--men's territory. That place scares me! But it's cheaper than Eichlers.) Builder thought it was beautiful, but was surprised that I would choose one without English. But, if Builder can daven in a Hebrew-only siddur, why not his children?