Ethiopian kids struggle to learn Hebrew

Ethiopian children are rarely exposed to Hebrew at home, and only one-third of their parents can read or write the language.

April 18, 2007 23:05
Ethiopian kids struggle to learn Hebrew

falash mura church 224 88. (photo credit: Uriel Heilman)


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analysis from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief


The gap in reading comprehension and vocabulary between the average schoolchild and their Ethiopian Israeli classmate has grown in recent years, according to a University of Haifa study conducted for the Education Ministry that was published Wednesday. Ethiopian children are rarely exposed to Hebrew at home, and only one-third of their parents can read or write the language, researchers found. At the same time, the children do not learn to read or write their parents' language - usually Amharic - only to speak it. The study, conducted by Dr. Michal Shany of the university's Learning Disabilities Department, tested 326 first- through sixth-graders in several schools. About half were from the Ethiopian community. Studies showing that the gap is closing have focused on less-sophisticated processes such as word comprehension or reading precision, according to Shany, who has published on literacy among Ethiopian children in the past . In more complex processes such as reading comprehension and vocabulary, abilities crucial for later academic excellence, Ethiopians lag far behind other Israelis, Shany said.

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

Jisr az-Zarq
April 3, 2014
Residents of Jisr az-Zarqa beckon Israel Trail hikers to enjoy their town