~ Aleph Champion ~

A long, long time ago, (back in the year 2003) a young and energetic Chabad Hebrew School Director decided to expand her recreational activities by joining a local Torah Dojo Karate class. Under the tutelage of "Sensei Diane" she began learning the techniques of Karate.

One fine morning it dawned upon her that learning Karate was indeed quite similar to the reading program at the Hebrew School she was running. The parallels were incredible. First, both systems ran once a week, leaving way too much space time from class to class for any substantial progress. Second, at home, few parents were clued in to what the child was learning. Practicing Karate at home, no one would have noticed whether she was practicing a front, side or round-house kick. Similar to the parent who tries to help with her child’s Hebrew reading work but can’t tell a kamatz from a koobotz. And last, there were students of all levels in class at the same time.

Some of the Aleph Champions at the Hi-Tech Hebrew School in Manhattan.

With all these similarities, there was just one major difference. In Karate, students were motivated to progress, were practicing for test dates with friends, and graduated from level to level quite quickly. Hebrew reading at the Hebrew School however was looking quite different. Students were learning to read year after year, without too much motivation to progress and failing to read properly by the time they needed to read for their Bar and Bat Mitzvahs.

So what was being done in Karate that could be adapted to the Hebrew School?

When a student steps into a Karate class, it is very clear what level everyone is on. The teacher is a Black Belt. Some students who have been studying for years are Purple or even Brown Belts. Beginners wear White Belts and there is a plethora of other colored belts.

It is very clear what one needs to know in order to pass a level and the reward is merely the change in color belt, a change in status.

If only there was some way to divide reading into a clear color coded system with levels easily defined and attainable... A program in which students would be excited about learning to read Hebrew and motivated to advance to the level of the teacher…

How does it work?

Step 1: Students are tested for their level using the aleph champ quiz book.

Step 2: Once placed in a level, the children receive a colored aleph champ reading primer depending on which color they passed.

Step 3: When a student progresses to the point of advancing a level, a testing date is set. The child is tested and receives an Aleph Champ Certificate of achievement as well as a new color book.

Step 4: Teachers are designated for the different color reading groups. Aleph Champ Centers are set up for reading, writing, games and flashcard review. The centers help to break up the teaching time and when short-staffed, even act as substitute teachers. See "coming attractions" for a list of some exciting reading center products soon to be available for purchase.

Step 5: Students are motivated and excited. The Aleph Champion Program is a success.

Aleph Champ Levels

1. White Aleph Champion
Master the first 18 letters of the Aleph Bet.

2. Red Aleph Champion
Master all 32 letters of the Aleph Bet.

3. Orange Aleph Champion
Master the first 3 vowels with letter combinations.

4. Yellow Aleph Champion
Master the first 6 vowels with letter combinations.

5. Green Aleph Champion
Master the first 9 vowels with letter combinations.

6. Blue Aleph Champion
Master all the vowels and exceptions to the rules.

7. Purple Aleph Champion
Master reading familiar Prayers and Brachot.

8. Brown Aleph Champion
Master reading important Tefillot.

9. Grey Aleph Champion
Master reading from the Siddur in a timed fashion.

10. Black Aleph Champion
Master reading over 100 words in a minute


Q. What is the Aleph Champion Program?

A. The Aleph Champion Program is a brainstorm idea developed after the karate motivational system of colors and levels. The entire reading system was divided into levels of different colors. This arrangement ensures that students learn to read Hebrew in an efficient, well-organized method. Aleph Champ takes a lot of groundwork; the program will not run on its own, but the results are tremendous and well worth the effort.

Q. What about the Aleph Champion Program (ACP) motivates students?

A. Well, it’s all in the colors. Clearly defined, color-coded levels make it very clear to students where they stand, and what they need to learn in order to advance to the next level. The competition is fabulous. The clarity is great for teachers, students and parents. The kids end up practicing at home and begging to be tested!

Q. Has the Aleph Champion Program ever been tested?

A. Yes. The Aleph Champion Program was tested in numerous successful Chabad Hebrew Schools across the U.S. this year. The schools’ enrollments ranged from 12 to 120 students. In every single school directors, administrators, teachers and parents were amazed by the results.