20 Best Books to Learn Russian Language for Beginners

Updated: Oct 12, 2021

List of the most useful Russian books for beginners and elementary students.


Choosing the right books to learn Russian language is extremely crucial especially in the very beginning of your learning process because your first exprerience will affect your motivation to learn Russian language. If your first experience is boring and hard, it is very likely that you might abandon your project. On the contrary, if your first experience is amazing, entertaining and fun, you have more chances not only to learn Russian language faster, but also to stay more enthusiastic about your learning process. Believe it or not, but choosing the right learning resources is 90 percent of your success in language learning.

Best resources to learn Russian language
It's very important to choose the right books to learn Russian language

But how do you know which books to choose to learn Russian language?

Well, I have prepared a list of the most quality books and audio-courses which will help you learn Russian language effectively and most importantly will not kill your motivation to learn Russian language. Be assured that I have analyzed these books myself, I have worked with some of them, others were sent to me for a review. These are the high-quality materials for beginner and elementary students in Russian, and you can be sure to improve your Russian tremendously if your work regularly and enjoy the process of learning Russian language.


Here is a list the the best books to learn Russian language for beginners:


LEARN RUSSIAN ALPHABET

First things first. If you have just decided to learn Russian language, the first thing you need to do is to learn Russian letters. Russian alphabet can be challenging to learn for foreigners. And in order to learn it faster I can recommend you this wonderful book

1. Russian Script Hacking: The optimal pathway to learn the Russian alphabet

This book teaches you how to quickly and efficiently recognise letters and common words in Russian script. this is This book is for you if you want to travel to Russian and need to understand Russian words around you, or you want to learn Russian language and need to master the basics. It provides plenty of practice activities to help you recognise each letter of the Russian alphabet; useful mnemonics to make you remember the shape of each letter; audio files with the pronunciation of Russian letters and words as well as some handy tips to help you decipher common Russian words. In brief, this book is all-in-one guide to start your journey to learn Russian letters.




2. Read and Write Russian Script: Teach yourself

Another great book to learn the basics of Russian alphabet and to be able to read and write simple texts in Russian. It is a clear step-by-step guide to learn written Russian that uses lots of examples from real-life texts in order to show how it works in context and lots of exercises to boost your learning. Comparing with a previous book, this one is more complete and gives more practical exercises. They really turn the process of learning Cyrillic alphabet into a very engaging and fun experience. The book is well structured and follows clear patterns step by step. You will be surprised to see how Russian alphabet is easy to learn with this amazing book. I highly recommend it to all beginners in Russian.




3. Russian Handwriting Worksheets

Russian Cursive Worksheets with QR codes for video lessons. Would you like to learn beautiful Russian handwriting? With this pack of Russian Handwriting Worksheets you will enjoy this process a lot! Russian handwriting is indeed very different from printed letters. And therefore you need to learn it if you want to understand not only printed Russian materials, but also Russian handwriting. Moreover, you will really find it enjoyable to learn and write in Russian cursive rather than writing with printed letters. And you will easily memorise these handwritten letters with fun and engaging practical exercises.

In addition to these worksheets, you will also get a file with animation and videos that you can watch by scanning the QR codes. This Russian handwriting cursive workbook contains:

✓ Russian printed and cursive letters with an animation file and video for each individual letter.

✓ Step by step instructions with guided arrows for each letter.

✓ Sound of Russian letters and English equivalent to them.

✓ Interesting word associations that will help you discover Russian culture and learn Russian words.

✓ Interesting and creative tasks (Russian songs, Letter to the Future, Dare to write it, etc.).

This Russian Handwriting Book offers: 100 pages total; 8.5” x 11” dimensions; Presentation with animation and sound; Video for each individual letter with explanations and easy tips to follow. Have fun learning Russian cursive!



RUSSIAN AUDIO COURSES FOR BEGINNERS

Audio courses are an amazing tool to learn Russian language. You can listen to them everywhere and anytime. It is important to have a written version of these audios to be able to learn how new words and constructions not only orally but also visually. Here is a list of the best audio courses to learn Russian language.


4. Foundation Russian course (Michel Thomas Method)

I always recommend to all Russian language beginners to start with this audio course. This is by far the best method to learn Russian language. How does it work? During this course, you will be put in class environment where you will hear a teacher and two students in a live lesson. This way you become the third student and you need to participate actively in the class session (by responding to questions). If you really listen carefully and follow the instructions, I assure you that you will be able to make simple sentences in Russian after the first 3 lessons. This learning method is really the best to learn basics of Russian.




5. Pimsleur Russian Basic Course

This is another great Russian audio course which can help you learn Russian language fast if you study on a regular basis. This course includes 10 lessons - 5 hours of engaging audio lessons with real-life spoken practice sessions. Each lesson provides you with 30 minutes of spoken language practice, an introductory conversation, new vocabulary and grammar structures. Detailed instructions enable you to understand and participate in the Russian conversation.




RUSSIAN WORKBOOKS FOR SELF-LEARNERS

Russian grammar is complex and must be learned only in context, especially for beginner learners. There are several Russian books that can help you learn Russian grammar easily and effectively without boring drills and academic explanations.


6. The New Penguin Russian Course

This is the most famous book for Russian language learners. The advantage of this book is that you can perfectly use it for self-learning. It's a complete course for beginners that will provide you with all necessary grammar and vocabulary basics to start speaking Russian. The book includes thirty lessons followed by clear revision exercises to make sure that you fully understand what you have learned. The focus is given to boosting your vocabulary, improving your conversational skills as well as learning basic grammar. The book also has a vocabulary list with 1,500 words and a glossary of grammatical terms.




7. Essential Russian Words and Expressions to understand Spoken Russian

This is a free ebook that can help you boost your vocabulary and start speaking Russian. I've created this guide to help you get the most basics of the Russian language to be able to communicate easily and with confidence. You don't need to have a great volume of words and expressions to start speaking in Russian. Don't wait until you have an Intermediate level, start using simple phrases and words in your conversations.

This guide also contains audio files so that you can listen to these phrases on the go: while driving, walking, doing sport or brushing your teeth.


8. The Most Comprehensive Guide to the Russian Genitive Case

This guide is not a simple book with grammar explanations. It is a whole course that will help you master the Russian Genitive case in a fun, engaging and easy way. Learning Russian cases can be a really daunting task if you use wrong materials with boring grammar explanations and complicated tables of endings. But this guide will show you that you can hack this system and understand how it works instead of merely memorizing tons of information.

In this guide, you will find all possible situations when the Genitive case is needed. Moreover, you will learn lots of fixed expressions with the Genitive case that you will be able to use in your speech.

And the 'treasure' of this guide is a final story about a man named Gena (association with the Genitive case). This story contains all situations that require the use of the Genitive case. This story was created based on a TPRS method (Teaching Proficiency through Reading and Storytelling) that is extremely effective for learning new languages. And in the end of the book you will find a good bonus that will put your Russian on the next level!


9. The Most Comprehensive Guide to the Russian Accusative Case

The Russian Accusative case acts like a chameleon. When it is used with inanimate objects, it answers the question 'Что?' (What?) and replicates the Nominative case. But when it is used with animate (alive) objects, it answers the question 'Кого?' (Who(m)?) and is similar to the Genitive case depending on the gender. There are many different situations when you need to use the Accusative case to show an indirect object.

In this guide, you will find all situations when we need to use the Accusative case with nouns / pronouns / adjectives. This guide is not a simple book with grammar explanations. It is a whole course that will help you master the Russian Accusative case in a fun, engaging and easy way.

But the key element of this guide is the final story that sums up all situations when the Accusative case is needed. This is a story about a household spirit called Kuzya (association with Accusative case).This story was created based on a TPRS method (Teaching Proficiency through Reading and Storytelling) that is extremely effective for learning new languages. And in the end of the book you will find a good bonus that will put your Russian on the next level!


10. The Most Comprehensive Guide to the Russian Prepositional Case

Another book in the series of Comprehensive guides to Russian cases. This guide is not a simple book with grammar explanations. It is a whole course that will help you master the Russian Prepositional case in a fun, engaging and easy way (good for both beginners and intermediate learners).

And the 'treasure' of this guide is a final story about a bear named Preppa (association with the Prepositional case). This story contains the key situations that require the use of the Prepositional case. This story was created based on a TPRS method (Teaching Proficiency through Reading and Storytelling) that is extremely effective for learning new languages.


11. Russian Tutor: Grammar and Vocabulary Workbook

This interactive workbook includes 200 activities to work on grammar and vocabulary points. By studying and practicing Russian grammar you'll understand how the language really works and be able to speak Russian with clarity and ease.

This Russian workbook is equipped with great illustartions and infographics for extra context and practice, hints and tips to help you to understand language rules and culture points.

Overall, this is a very good book for self-learners who need structured and engaging materials to learn.




12. Learn Russian the Fast and Fun Way

This is a very interesting and unusual workbook to learn Russian language. However, I would recommend you to use it as a supplement to one of the audio courses I mentioned earlier if you want to learn Russian language properly. This book contains lots of great illustrations, word lists, vocabulary flash cards, language exercises in the form of games and puzzles. This is an ideal book for those who want to travel to Russia and need to learn some important cultural insights. You will learn the most common phrases to communicate easily, to make simple requests and so on.



RUSSIAN VOCABULARY BOOKS FOR BEGINNERS

When it comes to boosting your vocabulary in Russian language, the best way is to use some interesting authentic materials like short stories, podcasts, videos and so on. Stories are especially great for people who want to write in Russian properly (and not just to communicate orally) as your visual memory can scan the words and help you memorize them. Let's look at some amazing books to learn Russian words.


13. Short Stories in Russian for Beginners

Well, this is definitely the most famous Russian story book. And it is really good, I agree. But not for complete beginners in Russian. I would say that you should anyway buy this book but start using it only when you already have an elementary level in Russian. Otherwise, you will be discouraged a lot. By the way, the author of this book is Olly Richards, a polyglot who speaks eight languages. You can find his blog which is called "I Will Teach You A Language" where he provides some really interesting points on learning a new language. As for the book, it is really worth buying. Stories are funny and based on some cultural insights, high quality audio files are also provided with the book.




14. Russian Short Stories for Beginners: 20 Captivating Short Stories to Learn Russian

This Russian story book is not as famous as a previous one but it doesn't make it less useful. These easy Russian stories are really good and engaging. Each story is fun and entertaining accompanied with realistic dialogues and everyday situations. The book itself is well-structured and contains summaries with vocabulary lists after each story. These stories include some modern slang as well as common idioms that Russian people use a lot. You will also be challenged with some tricky questions in Russian that will test how well you have acquired a new knowledge. In my opinion, this book is a great tool to boost your Russian vocabulary fast and to enjoy the overall process.




15. 2000 Most Common Russian Words in Context

Context is the key! Don't waste your time memorizing some separate words, this is useless. This Russian book is really good in terms of enhancing your vocabulary in Russian as it provides the most common Russian words with clear and memorable examples that will stick to your mind. You will also find some good tips on how to make your learning process more enjoyable and effective. This book is easy to follow and it includes English translation for each word. Overall, I would say that it is a good starting point for beginners in Russian who are eager to learn Russian language fast. But you should really work on this book, don't expect these word to be learned in one day. Practice, practice and practice in Russian.




16. Conversational Russian Dialogues