Student Hebrew/ Greek Reading Groups

From time to time, some of my “Elementary Hebrew” or “Elementary Greek” alums will put together a reading group to try to retain (or get back) their hard-earned skills. The besetting challenge is, of course, time: most of them are either still taking classes or have graduated into demanding jobs. Last evening, some of us met to begin another swat at a Hebrew reading group. As usual, it was fun and fruitful. Students who elect to take biblical languages are, on average, a fun crowd (in my admittedly idiosyncratic view).

Typically, we won’t expect any preparation, and plan to meet weekly with the understanding that anyone might have to bail on any given week. Sometimes groups plan to meet during the day, perhaps in the cafeteria or a faculty office (lunches are often the best time). This group is meeting in the evenings, which makes it more entertainingly social—a plus, I’d say—but also means that more folks are having to commit to a drive in (rather than simply walking from one campus building to another).

I love student reading groups. The mere fact that students want to carve a bit of time from their lunatic schedules to improve their reading brings joy to an educator’s heart. Also, there’s that sense of application: I saw how hard they’ve worked to learn the stuff, and they deserve the reward of putting it to some use. Finally, it’s a chance for me also to be involved in reading that’s done just for its own sake: especially when I’m teaching introductory classes, I mostly read the Bible for the narrow tasks associated with prepping and teaching those courses.

Have you had experience with student reading groups in Hebrew or Greek (or any other languages, for that matter)? What has worked for you, what hasn’t, and what do you enjoy most about them?

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2 Responses

  1. This is great! I’m so glad you encourage this valuable effort. I’ve had groups of students try to start their own reading groups after a class is finished, but many of them fall prey to the very things you mentioned. The ones that were successful typically started with a specific reading goal (a particular book for example).

    • I actually think your presence to guide and refresh our memories makes a big difference. I fear otherwise the frustration level might overcome the enjoyment factor.

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