Alephbet 101 / Hebrew Reading FAQ
Is it hard to learn to read Hebrew?
The quick answer: it can be super easy and fun! I've seen a lot of boring ways of teaching Hebrew reading, which is why I made this site. The CartoonHebrew method is based on how I've learned lots of crazy writing systems (including Russian, Chinese and the three writing systems of Japanese), and how I've taught my friends to read Hebrew in less than an hour!
Learning the Alefbet: The Hebrew Alphabet
Hebrew writing works differently than the English alphabet, so here's a little intro to what you can expect. If you just can't wait, though, click below to skip to the first letter of the Alefbet.
In Hebrew, the letters are all consonants! What about vowels? Read on...
The Letters (Consonants)
The letters of the Alefbet look like this:
The Vowel Marks
All of the letters are actually consonants. The vowels are marks like dots and dashes that are added to the letters, like this:
The Good News About the Alefbet
- Consistent spelling — You don't have to worry about a lot of weird spellings like English tough/plough/through. Once you know how to read, it's pretty easy to know how to pronounce words.
- Biblical and Modern Hebrew are really similar to read. Modern Hebrew changed only a few things to make it easier to read without vowels, and to write foreign words.
- No capital letters means most of the time, you only have to learn one version of a letter.
Where Hebrew is Special and New
- Hebrew is read right to left! Even books open on the opposite side.
- Final letters — A few letters do have final versions, which is like a capital but at the end of a word.
- Everyday Hebrew doesn't use vowels! Ancient Hebrew didn't either. That is, they aren't usually written. Kids learn with vowels, and both dictionaries and religious texts use them to show correct pronunciation.
We'll be using the vowels to teach you to read.
Let's get started learning to read Hebrew!
We'll start at the beginning, with the letter Alef.