You can’t get rid of a language.
Not at all.
The answer is yes. You can learn Russian and then forget it, of course.
You can let your Russian become rusty and full of weeds, and you can slowly give it away to the sands.
That essay that you didn’t back up before it was due won’t go away because you didn’t do that.
It won’t disappear from your bank account like the money you spent on a marked-up bottle of wine and a pricey meal.
Russian is like a favorite book that you keep in your carry-on luggage. Once you learn it, you can just enjoy it.
There is comfort in having a language at your fingertips. It’s just like having a book on hand to keep you awake and bored.
A book that can send a language into your brain and keep it there is worth having around, right?
There are a lot of good Russian textbooks out there, but today we’re going to look at some of the best ones. They can help you learn the Russian language in a way that lasts.
Don’t leave them in your hotel room.
What Should a Russian Language Textbook Do?
It is possible to get Russian textbooks in a lot of different ways. It doesn’t matter how they’re put together, though. They should be a bridge between you and the Russian language.
If you’re learning a new language, you might think that textbooks aren’t very important. But the truth is that many people just prefer to read books. If you want to learn more about something, you can use books instead of other things.
If you want to learn Russian, you need a good textbook. Before we look at some of the best ones, let’s look at what a good textbook should do for you.
Provide a wide range of core knowledge.
This is especially important for new people. If you don’t learn the words that are used the most in a language, you won’t be able to learn very quickly.
However, if you just force-feed yourself a list of the most common Russian words, you’ll get tired of it very quickly. There won’t be much of a chance for you to learn how to use that language, either. But textbooks can help you learn important words in an organized, context-rich way.
Good textbooks keep you from paying too much attention to the words you’re learning and help you learn basic vocabulary by reading sentences instead of just learning them one by one.
Reinforce your knowledge with practical exercises.
Russian is how you make it your own, so it’s important to have some level of interaction with it. Some books want you to speak, and others want you to write. Ideally, a textbook should give students a lot of chances to write.
Give you the help and momentum you need to start learning on a regular basis.
It might be the most important thing a textbook can do for you is let you stop worrying about how to learn and just learn, instead.
Once you start taking in a chapter or lesson a day and reviewing it every few days, it won’t be long before you can speak the language on your own. When you choose the right textbook for you, it should make regular study seem doable and realistic.
Here is the main event. Here is a list of textbooks that are both traditional and not. All of them are at least a little bit beginner-friendly. Some of them will help you get through the first level. At least one of them can help you learn all the way to the end.
The right person will benefit from all of them.
So let’s check it out!
the Best Russian Textbooks for Beginners and Beyond
“The Berlitz Self-Teacher: Russian”
This first book is from 1951. You can’t find these books anywhere else. They live in their own world. Modern textbooks, of course, have more bells and whistles, like audio, color photos, and digital goodies that go with them. If you want to learn Russian, don’t buy a new book. The “Self-Teacher” is still the best way to learn.
Because the “Self-Teacher” format makes it so easy to start making sentences right away, it’s one of the things that makes it so clever!
This isn’t clear. The pencil is here. There is a red book. Paper is white.
Interlinear text is used by the “Self-Teacher.” It’s also used by some dual-language readers and programs like FluentU. (see below). You’ll see Cyrillic on the top, a pronunciation key in the middle, and an English translation below. This is how it works:
Sure, you won’t be able to speak perfect, native Russian with the help of the pronunciation key. Then, you’ll start speaking and using the language in your daily life. As a bonus, you don’t need headphones to read the book.
See Alexander Arguelles’ review to get a close look at what the “Self-Teacher” looks like in real life.
Despite the fact that it comes from a time when textbooks were limited in what resources they could give to students, the “Self-Teacher” really does its best to be a simple but complete learning tool. That way, you can move along naturally while learning some grammar at the same time.
If you want to use the “Self-Teacher,” you’ll still want to use audio and other modern learning materials to help you learn.
Check out Natasha Alexandrova’s “Russian Step by Step,” which is a modern book that’s a little like the “Self-Teacher.” If you don’t like the idea of using an older textbook, check out “Russian Step by Step.” Then you won’t have to use old Soviet-era terms. You’ll also get a free download of the original audio. It’s more expensive, though, so you’ll have to think about the pros and cons and decide what’s best for you.
Also, either of these options can be used with FluentU to get the perfect mix of structure and real, real Russian learning.
Videos that are real, like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspirational talks, are used by FluentU to help people learn a language.
If you want to learn the Russian language quickly and become more comfortable with it, look no further than one of these two books and a subscription to FluentU.
“Complete Russian Beginner to Intermediate Course”
One of the best Russian textbooks might be the “Self-Teacher,” but it’s always fun to look around and see what else is out there. Besides, you can always learn more about the different ways you can learn.
This book is part of the Teach Yourself series. They take the “complete” part of their Complete courses very seriously, and this book is part of that. Use it alone or with another course, but no matter how you use it it will help you build your knowledge and skills.
“Complete Russian” is broken up into chapters, or “units,” that include cultural information, dialogues, and other activities. A CD comes with it, and it’s meant to teach all the main language skills (reading, writing, listening, speaking).
It explains more than the “Self-Teacher,” and it takes a more simple, traditional approach. For this reason, it might be best for people who are good in the classroom and can motivate themselves.
Even though CDs are becoming less common from a tech point of view, educational audio is still often given out in this way, even though CDs are becoming less common. Sometimes, publishers make it easy to download an MP3 directly. Other times, they don’t make it easy to do that at all. So make sure you can get the audio with this book or any of the other ones on this list before you buy them.
To get you to the intermediate level of Russian skills, “Complete Russian” is what you need.
“Russian in 10 Minutes a Day”
Don’t let the title fool you. There’s a lot of information in this casual-looking resource, even though it says it should only take a few minutes. “Russian in 10 Minutes a Day” is great if you want to learn Russian as a game. As a guide, it’s more like a workbook than a textbook. But it has all of the information you need in one place.
There are a lot of ways “Russian in 10 Minutes a Day” makes you feel like you’re not studying at all. Using Russian-English cognates helps you learn a lot of Russian without having to do a lot of work. There are also stickers you can put on things in your home and office to help you learn new words. It also comes with pre-made flashcards.
If you buy “10 Minutes,” you also get an interactive software download. You can use this with the book as well as with the interactive software. It may be a good book for you if you like extra goodies and if you like to be very excited about your learning materials.
“The Everything Learning Russian Book”
Here’s another title that might make you think twice about it, but it still deserves your attention. This isn’t so much because “The Everything Learning Russian Book” teaches you more than the other books on this list, but because it gives you a lot of background information to help you learn about the Russian language. People who want to learn a new language and enjoy the history and culture behind it can both enjoy and benefit from this.
I said that “Complete Russian” was best for people who do well in class. I mostly meant people who do well in class. This book, on the other hand, is better for people who enjoy learning in class. There are places where you can get some of the knowledge and insight that comes from a teacher who has been teaching for a long time.
Chapters give in-depth introductions to language concepts and cultural topics, as well as a lot of practice and quizzes. The book also deals with practical issues, like how to get around in Russia.
The print version of “The Everything Learning Russian Book” comes with a CD that you can use to learn more about the language. If you buy the Kindle version on some Fire tablets and iOS devices, you can also get audio with the book.
“Learn Russian the Fast and Fun Way”
In the same way as “Russian in 10 Minutes a Day,” this one from Barron’s might make you laugh at first, but don’t let that bother you. It’s a good one. A lot of people say this is a “activity kit,” but it’s just as much of a textbook.
It’s aimed at travelers, but anyone who wants to learn the basics of Russian can use it. It has colorful illustrations, dialogues, grammar explanations, and interactive exercises that make learning the language fun and easy.
10 Minutes also has flashcards that have already been made. “Learn Russian the Fast and Fun Way” has the same thing, too. Some of these cards have whole phrases and lists of words on them, so they’re very full.
This book is good for people who want to learn the language in a way that looks good. The cover may look a little childish. The cartoon illustrations aren’t exactly fine art, but they’re done well, and the book makes learning fun and interesting.
Unless you want to buy a cassette version, there’s no audio for this book. It’s best for people who like to learn without technology.
Assimil “Russian With Ease”
Assimil is a well-known French language learning company that makes courses based on books, which is what they do. It’s like Berlitz’s “Self-Teacher” in that they start with practical language use and don’t spend a lot of time on grammar explanations. It’s possible that the “With Ease” series talks more about grammar than the “Self-Teacher.”
Each chapter is based on a text conversation with audio that goes along with it. Following that, there are a lot of exercises. In the future, you’ll learn grammar points as they come up, and the level of difficulty will go up as you go along. The dialogues are more useful for helping you understand vocabulary than for teaching you practical phrases, but you’ll still learn some basic conversational skills.
Assimil books may not seem as active as some of the books above, but this isn’t always the case. You can learn a lot from this book if you want to start studying Russian right away.
Also, I like that the “With Ease” books are very easy to take with you when you go on trips. You can fit them into a backpack or even a purse that isn’t very big.
To get the “Superpack” that comes with the CDs, click this link: In the past, I’ve seen some newer versions that come with a USB key that only works in other languages. Check with the seller, if you’re not sure what kind of sound you’re getting. Also, I’ve seen Assimil books for sale without audio. If you already know some Russian, these might be useful, but if you don’t, you might not find them very useful.