Learning the basics of Arabic proves necessary when teaching and learning the Quran. Allah has revealed the Quran in this language in such a way that it is understandable and easy to learn for people. Kids who are learning the Quran should also become somewhat familiar with the Arabic language because it helps them learn the Quran better. In this article, we will look into ways of teaching Arabic to kids.
Who Should Learn Arabic?
In general, every learner of the Quran should become familiar with Arabic. The Arabic of the Quran is not so difficult to learn compared to contemporary Arabic. The question is, should we teach Arabic to kids as well? Teaching how much of the language is also another thing to consider. We should teach kids Arabic, but we should consider their age first. Kids aged 3-5 should only learn the pronunciation and meaning of words separately, not reading or writing. In other words, they must learn Arabic by ear. For example, we can tell them the meaning of the word al-Hamd in surah Fatiha. Al-Hamd means all praise. Another example would be kawthar in surah Kawthar, which means abundant good.
Older kids, such as those aged 6-12, can start learning reading and writing Arabic and some vocabulary. Reading is much more important because the prerequisite of writing is reading. Because kids in this age range also learn to read and write in their own language, they are more or less familiar with the method and procedure of learning to read and write in a new language.
Teaching Arabic to Kids Aged 3-5
The first thing that kids in this age range should learn is the letters in the Arabic alphabet and their sounds. Knowing the names and order of the letters is the first thing teachers should teach kids. Moreover, kids should be able to pronounce the name of the letters with their correct pronunciation. In other words, knowing what sound each letter makes is something every kid should know. They can also get to know the shape of the letters in the Arabic alphabet by filling in coloring pages of the letters. In this way, they will learn the shape of the letters in a fun way. Of course, teachers should not teach kids aged 3-5 Arabic reading and writing yet. The next step is learning words that begin with each letter. For example, you should teach kids the word Allah for the letter alif.
Teaching Arabic to Kids Aged 6-12
Suppose kids aged 3-5 have learned the basics of Arabic and are now grown older into, for instance, six years of age. In that case, they can learn the other and more advanced elements of Arabic much more easily. They already know the Arabic alphabet, their names, and the sounds they make. They are also well acquainted with some words that have those letters. Even better, they have memorized several short surahs of the Quran. Now is the time to learn the more advanced components of the Arabic language, namely reading and writing. What comes next after learning the letters? The vowels.
The Short Vowels
There aren’t too many vowels in Arabic, and learning them isn’t too difficult either. There are three short vowels:
Fatḥah and ḍammah are written above letters, while kasrah is written below letters. We must first teach the sound of each of these three vowels. Then we must give examples of words that contain these vowels. For instance, in the word فَعَلَ, we have three letters with fatḥah. In the word, اِبِلِ, we have three letters with kasrah. And, in the word, سُبُلَ, the first two letters have ḍammah while the third letter has a fatḥah.
The Long Vowels
Arabic is a language that learning its vowels is relatively easy, whether short or long. The long vowels are, in fact, the same as the short vowels, except their duration is doubled. To explain, if you double the sound of a fatḥah, the result is the first long vowel alif. Similarly, if you double the sound of kasrah, you have the second long vowel, yā. Finally, doubling the sound of ḍammah gives you the third and last long vowel, wāw. Just like learning the short vowels, you must provide examples of words that contain the long vowels. You can even recite whole verses and point out which words have long vowels.
Sukūn: The Unvowelled Letter
After teaching the alphabet and vowels, we must also explain to kids that sometimes a letter could have no vowel. We know this thanks to a sign called sukūn, written above an unvowelled letter. Sukūn looks like this: ۡ a small dotless khā. In a word such as قَبۡلِ, we have a sukūn written above the letter bā. Therefore, we pronounce it without any vowel.
The last rule that we must teach kids is shaddah. Shaddah is written above a letter that is to be pronounced with greater intensity. Shaddah resembles a small rounded ‘w,’ like this: ّ. In the word, الله, we see that there is a shaddah above the lām of the majestic name of Allah. Therefore, the lām must be pronounced with intensity. Repeat words that have shaddah several times to better demonstrate this rule.
Finding a proficient Arabic language teacher is quite difficult nowadays, especially in Western countries. Online tutoring has been an effective remedy for this shortcoming. Many Quranic apps intend to teach the Quran to kids. One of these apps is the one offered by Qurankids.co, meaning the Quran Kids course. If you want to teach the Quran to your little ones and have them memorize short surahs of the Quran, go ahead and download our app. We guarantee that your kids will love learning the Quran with this app.