Trope Reading

Recitation plays an important role in homeschool curricula. For Jewish families, recitation can take the traditionally Jewish form of trope reading, which has been part of Jewish education for thousands of years.

Unlike modern recitation, Jewish recitation is meant to be done relationally. You look the other person in the face and “sing” the passage back and forth to each other. Sometimes it is actually singing, but oftentimes it would be better described as a cadence. This was the way you learned language as a baby, by looking into the face of your mother and hearing the cadence of her voice.

This area can include many different things from the method of communicating using our voice (trope, sol-fa, sight reading music, etc.) to the types of materials to be recited (Torah, Tehillim/Psalms, Folk Songs, Poems, and even short Fables). The important part is to begin with the hearing through relationship. Reading trope or sight reading music is of use to the teacher in the beginning. Likely the student will begin to pick it up over time through his relationship with his teacher, but do not feel like your student must master all of these things. The entire point of recitation is developing a relationship…with the teacher, the material, and the method/music.

If you’re not familiar with trope, a nice introduction can be found on the Wikipedia page on Cantillation.

Trope taamim — brief explanation of cantillation marks and their pronunciation.

Interactive Torah reading trainer at chabad.org — teaches the basics of trope.

Daf Yomi Review Torah readings provides recordings of Torah, haftorah, psalms, and other traditional texts in Ashkenazic, Sephardic, Chassidic, and Yemenite styles.