German Textbook Guide

Learning German: Books and Publishers

Schritte international German textbook

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The first decision you have to make in selecting a textbook for German is whether you want a text published in your country and targeted for a specific (American, British, Italian, etc.) audience, or a more universal, all-German Deutsch als Fremdsprache text published by a German publisher. The listing below includes German publishers and those in other countries.

Most textbooks are also aimed at a specific age-level and often target either a college or school level. In our list you'll find the textbooks listed alphabetically by title—with an indication of the target level (young learners, middle school, high school, college).

We also plan to add a list of supplementary texts soon—for TPR, cultural, literary, or anthology books for German.

Textbooks for Learning German

The listing for textbooks below describes the materials offered (teacher's guide, workbook, CDs, cassettes, etc.) and the general program for each text. (Such descriptions come from the publisher or textbook vendors and are intended only as a general guide.) A Web link is included for each textbook publisher's site. The target level for each title is indicated by the following abbreviations: C college, adults, HS high school, MS middle school/junior high, YL young learners/elementary school.

A: Auf Deutsch! to D: Deutsch: Na Klar!

Auf Deutsch! (MS/HS) Publ: McDougal Littel. From the publisher: "A three-level, multi-component German program with print, audio, and integrated technology components that are keyed to the Fokus Deutsch video series. Extensive teacher support and strategies designed to address multiple intelligences, and various learning styles and ability levels."

Blick 1 (MS/HS) Publ: Hueber Verlag. Intermediate German for teenagers and young adults in three volumes. Each volume offers a textbook (with CD), a workbook, and a teacher's guide. Hueber also has a nice Web site for teachers (in German).

Deutsch aktiv neu (HS) Langenscheidt. This textbook is written entirely in German for beginning students. Its topics are of high interest and familiarity so the students are drawn into participation. The learning is done in context, which draws students into the language and culture quicker. The page-by-page glossaries and the strong emphasis on grammar aid the student in language acquisition. Three levels, each with textbook, workbook, glossary, teacher's manual, and audio cassettes.

Deutsch aktuell (MS/HS) Publ: EMC/Paradigm. The fifth edition (2004) is not just a revised edition, but a totally rewritten textbook. Developed in response to needs expressed by teachers throughout the US, it incorporates a well-balanced approach emphasizing communication and a logical progression of language structure. Also available as an interactive CD-ROM. Textbook, annotated teacher's edition, workbook, audio CDs, testing program, TPR storytelling manual, and more. Three-level program plus other German materials.

Deutsch: Na klar! (HS/C) Publ: McGraw Hill. An introductory German course that claims to motivate students and stimulate interest in the culture and language through its approach to authentic materials that illustrate vocabulary in context, communicative functions of grammatical structures, and cultural points. Features activities and exercises, an easy-to-follow chapter structure, and an array of multimedia supplements.

F: Fokus Deutsch to K: Kontakte

Fokus Deutsch (HS/C) Publ: McGraw Hill. A three-level German text created in collaboration with the Annenberg/CPB project, WGBH/Boston, and the McGraw-Hill Companies—along with Inter Nationes and the Goethe-Institut. The program immerses students in the reality of German life, history, and culture. The comprehensive package also includes such multimedia supplements as a CD-ROM resource for instructors and a text-specific Web site.

Komm mit! (MS/HS) Publ: HRW. One of the most-used high school German textbooks in the US. Three levels with textbook, teacher's edition, workbooks, and multimedia for the classroom. See some sample cultural Web supplements for this textbook from the publisher. You can also download PDF files for detailed descriptions of aspects of this series from the HRW Web site.

Kontakte: A Communicative Approach (HS/C) Publ: McGraw Hill. A German text based on and inspired by the Natural Approach, pioneered by Tracy D. Terrell (the late co-author). Students learn German through communicative contexts with an emphasis on the four skills as well as cultural competence, with grammar functioning as an aid to language learning, rather than as an end in itself. Text and instructor's manual, workbook, CD-ROM, and book Web site.

P: Passwort Deutsch to T: Themen Neu

Passwort Deutsch (HS/C) Publ: Klett Edition Deutsch. A five-level communicative and activity-oriented text for Zertifikat Deutsch preparation. Reading texts and exercises help students develop oral comprehension, speaking, reading and writing skills, with emphasis on vocabulary and grammar. Textbook, teacher's guide, vocabulary booklet, audio CDs.

Plus Deutsch (HS/C) Publ: Hueber Verlag. Text/workbook, teacher's guide, CDs, German-English glossary (Level I). Focus on communication skills and grammar. Each of three levels contains a variety of texts ranging from comics, poems, and short stories to reports and interviews related to the culture and civilization of German-speaking countries. Exercises for vocabulary and structures, and color illustrations.

Schritte 1-6 (HS/C) Publ: Hueber A complete six-level German program with student text, workbooks, and audio CDs for teens to adults.

Sowieso (YL/MS) Publ: Langenscheidt. A three-volume textbook series for beginners age 12 and up. An English edition ("A German Course for Young People") is also available.

Stufen international (MS/HS) Publ: Klett Edition Deutsch. Three levels, each volume with 10 lessons. Everyday topics in full color, conversation, grammar, information, pronunciation, and practice activities. Text/workbook, teacher's handbook, exercise book, audio cassettes. This text also has its own online forum.

Tamburin (YL) Publ: Hueber. Three levels with activities and audio. Teachers's guide, workbook, audio CDs. For children.

Themen neu (HS/C) Publ: Hueber Verlag. The updated edition of this popular college/high school textbook maintains the quality of the original, but written and oral comprehension exercises are now introduced earlier and intensively practiced in the first volume. Important grammar, in particular the perfect tense, are dealt with early on. Two levels with textbook, workbook, CDs or cassettes, teacher's guide, and an English-German glossary (Level I). There's also a special level three Zertifikatsband for students who intend to pass the Zertifikat Deutsch exam.

Do you know of a good German texbook we haven't listed here? Contact your Guide.

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Flippo, Hyde. "German Textbook Guide." ThoughtCo, May. 16, 2021, Flippo, Hyde. (2021, May 16). German Textbook Guide. Retrieved from Flippo, Hyde. "German Textbook Guide." ThoughtCo. (accessed May 28, 2023).