Russian Learning Programs
Listed below are some programs that people have used to learn russian and are reviewed favorably.
The Pimsleur method is an audio only method, however included in each level there are small supplemental books that focus on pronunciation. There are currently 3 levels for Pimsleur Russian. In each level there are 30 lessons which are 30 minutes long. The Pimsleur method makes use of learning principles such as anticipation, graduated interval recall, core vocabulary, and organic learning to help the learner progress. There are a couple downsides to Pimsleur, the most obvious is that since the Pimsleur method is an audio only format that means it does not focus on writing and reading as much as traditional learning materials. However, this can easily be countered by another learning program that focuses more specifically on those areas. Another drawback is that the vocabulary is limited and will not get you far if you do not use other learning programs. Overall, for what the Pimsleur method wants to accomplish it is a rather effective program and after completing all 3 levels you will have a solid base and an improved accent.
Teach Yourself Russian is a book program and comes with 2 CDs. On the 2 CDs there are dialogues and other exercises that are marked in the book. The vocabulary is repeated throughout the book and used in different contexts to help the beginning student to memorize it. There are grammar explanations throughout each chapter to help the reader to understand Russian Grammar. The dialogues on the CD are slower than what a typical Russian speaks, but understandably they are that way to help the beginning student hear the pronunciation of Russian words. There are also exercises throughout the book. For the price it is a good learning material to use with other programs.
The New Penguin Russian Course according to some people is the best purchase a beginning Russian learner can make. Many people like the way lessons are set up, they are clear and demonstrates to the reader about how the grammar rule applies with examples and exercises. Upon completing this book you'll have a much greater understanding of Russian grammar to build more knowledge onto. However, it states it's a "Complete Course", but there is no audio or listening practice! Listening and speaking are the other part of a language, but a purchase of an audio or software program easily fixes this. Overall, the Penguin course is one of the best investment a beginner can make.
This is your typical grammar book with practice exercises. It has a pronunciation guide in the beginning along with some other general Russian language information too. This book is very good for a grammar reference. Each topic has guidelines and generals rules followed up with examples and exercises. If you want to do grammar exercises, then this is a book you should purchase. However, you cannot learn Russian soley through this book, but Schaum's Outline of Russian Grammar makes an excellent reference for grammar related questions and for those who want grammar exercises.
This can be considered an extensive dictionary. An extensive dictionary is what you go to when you cannot find the word you are looking for in your smaller dictionary. It is the best complete dictionary for English speakers learning Russian. It has excellent translations in it and has a solid listing of vocabulary to not only help aide the beginning student but also the intermediate to advanced student as well. There is a grammar reference and it has listings of geographical areas. However, the drawback is the size of the dictionary makes it mainly a shelf dictionary, but this dictionary is a must own for the serious student.