Harvey Bluedorn, author of A Greek Alphabetarion, maintains that many students quickly become frustrated with learning Greek because they are expected to develop Greek reading skills and learn the grammar simultaneously. He says the ability to read and write the language should be mastered before learning the grammar, syntax, etc. His book is designed simply to get students reading Koine Greek proficiently before they study the language itself at a more advanced level.
How Does This Work?
While younger students could conceivably get through this text fairly easily (if they took it slowly enough), it's probably best for ages 10 and up. This is a stand-alone textbook; there are examinations at the end of each section to be completed in the text itself, but they are just as easily finished on a separate sheet of paper so you can use the same book for multiple students. There is no teacher book, everything you need is in the text. Even someone with no Greek experience can teach this text, though instruction probably isn't even necessary as the text is clear and thorough.
There are three sections. The first takes students through each letter of the Greek alphabet and its sounds; exercises are limited to writing each letter repeatedly until you can do so with ease. Extra interesting information gives background and etymology. Diphtohongs and breathings are also covered at the end of this section.
The second section teaches students how to put sounds together to read words. This is not a vocabulary; this is simply an introduction to reading Greek. A selection of New Testament passages is included with interlinear translation of each line so students can practice reading extended sentences and paragraphs. They shouldn't focus on the translations below the Greek words as the focus is simply mastery of the sounds of the language. It is suggested students make cards for each letter of the alphabet; activities are outlined for making words of the letters and sounding them out.
The final section is a fairly comprehensive study of the Greek phonetic system. A lot of this information is review of the first two sections of the book. There are more letter card activities slightly more complex than those found in the second section. After this part is finished, students will have learned all they can or that is useful before jumping into study of the grammar and the language itself.
A pronunciation audio CD is included in the back of the book. Every example in the book is recorded on its own track and marked in the lessons for easy reference. Students should take as long on each lesson as is necessary for them to gain mastery of the material. The average student should make it through the text in under a schoolyear, though you may as well plan a whole year.
Our Honest Opinion:
The author has a homeschool Greek primer that he suggests you start once the Alphabetarion is finished; we do not carry this text. A good choice would probably be the Elementary Greek series if you want a healthy dose of review before moving on, or Baugh's New Testament Greek Primer if you can't wait to get your hands on declensions and conjugations. For older students, Mounce's Basic Greek text would be a good choice. This is only a starting place; it isn't much use unless you plan to continue Greek study, which we strongly recommend you do as it is a rewarding and profitable study.
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