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Thread: Suggested Textbooks for Reading

  1. #1
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    Suggested Textbooks for Reading

    I received this in the SEELANGS list that I subscribe to. Thought it might be of interest to y'all, even though focus is on developing reading skills. I don't have experience with any of them, but SEELANGS consists mostly of teachers of Russian and other Slavic languages.

    Start reading posts from the bottom up.

    Date: Tue, 15 Apr 2008 16:08:30 +0100
    From: Andrew Jameson a.jameson2@DSL.PIPEX.COM
    Subject: Re: Reading Russian Texts

    For those teaching adults or scientists to read Russian, I used to use READING MODERN RUSSIAN by Jules F Levin and Peter D Haikalis, Slavica 1979. This uses a radical scientific approach, not a philological one.

    For those teaching historians, I used to use GRADED READINGS IN RUSSIAN HISTORY, ed with chapter-by-chapter vocabs, exercises and MAPS by Leon Stilman, Columbia, 1960 (up to Ivan III). After that A LECTURE ON RUSSIAN HISTORY, ed with on-page vocab and notes by Horace Lunt, Mouton 1959 (beginning of 19c to the revolution).

    Best reader for intermediates in my experience was: RUSSIAN READING FOR MEANING, ed. George A. C. Scherer, Harcourt Brace, 1967. This has a controlled vocabulary for students who have completed "two levels" of classroom instruction. The texts are genuinely interesting, not condescending, juvenile or trite as many early readers are. This could be the first book which your students could use for extensive reading.

    The Rolls Royces of advanced Russian readers must be the series produced by Harcourt Brace in the 60s-70s. They were equipped with introductory articles, preparatory texts, marginal translations of difficult words, contextual footnotes, exercises afterwards, full vocabs, just fabulous. The titles were:

    BALLAD OF A SOLDIER, ed Laurence C Thompson et al., 1966
    NEW VOICES. CONTEMPORARY SOVIET SHORT STORIES, ed Kenneth Harper et al., 1966
    A CENTURY OF RUSSIAN PROSE AND VERSE. FROM PUSHKIN TO NABOKOV, ed Gleb Struve et al., 1967
    EYEWITNESS. SELECTIONS FROM RUSSIAN MEMOIRS, ed D Barton Johnson et al, 1971 (includes a "slovar' -minimum").

    I'm sure there are copies available on the Internet.

    Andrew Jameson
    ---------------------------------------------------

    These are oldies and goodies, , but what about the modern proficiency method by Irene Thompson, Reading Real Russian??? LZ

    I'd share my ideas on the sources I used. In most of these books, you can either ignore the grammar-related assignments or just slightly reflect on them to connect with the texts. The latter have good follow-up questions that can also help in the development of both reading and further oral speech.

    1. "Mir Russkix" by Z. Dabars et al, Dubuque, IA 1997

    2. "Pattern Drills in Russian" by N. Maltzoff, New York, 1960

    3. "Russkii yazyk dlya vsex" by V. Kostomarov, Ed., Moscow, 1977

    4. "Russian Intermediate Reader" by I. Mihalchenko, Ed., 1977

    5. "Beginner's Russian Reader" by L. Pargment, New York, 1963

    Best,
    Ashot Vardanyan, University of Iowa

    04/07 00:36 Laura Kline klinela@COMCAST.NET wrote:
    Can anyone recommend a good textbook for students who want to focus on developing reading skills only? They would be starting at the beginning level.

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    Chaika,

    I found a number of these books last year and they have been very helpful to me so far in my reading skill. Unfortunately my reading was probably already my best skill anyway, but hey, all learning is good.

    The Harcourt Brace books have been terrific in the way they are laid out since you don't normally need to look up words in a dictionary as they are given in the margins (and unusual phrases in the footnotes). Anyone who has the equivalent of around a full year of Russian should be able to benefit from them. You just need to have a basic knowledge of grammar and basic vocabulary.

    I'm not sure that there is an especially good way to focus on reading at the very beginning level. I would think any textbook would be sufficient to give you practice at that level. Or just use any Russian text at all and work your dictionary very hard and see what you come up with.

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    Re: Suggested Textbooks for Reading

    I bought this book when I was in Moscow last summer to improve my reading and its been quite useful. In my opinion, a reading book should be usable without a dictionary.
    ШКАТУЛКА. Книга для чтения/ под редакцией
    as shown in this page http://www.rus-lang.ru/books/category/8

    This book was meant for post-beginner level.
    Two very useful things:
    - all words have stress marks - so you can pronounce words correctly.
    - meaning for difficult words is given in margin. (of course, "difficult" is subjective and sometimes I came across words that I did not know and were not explained in the margin. But I was able to understand their meaning from the context. I almost never needed a dictionary.


    Each passage is followed by some exercises.

    That webpage has other books meant to improve reading skills, including one ""Приключения иностранцев в России " aimed at post-intermediate readers and some containing reading passages written by contemporary Russian writers.

    It should be possible to buy the book online as well.

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    Re: Suggested Textbooks for Reading

    The best way for Russian reading is a dual language book. If you have no one, you may use Bible. It's easy to find it.

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    Re: Suggested Textbooks for Reading

    Quote Originally Posted by JumpParty
    can you guys give an advice for a newbie in Russian language? Thanks
    When you learn verbs learn them in imperfective/perfective pairs. For verbs of motion learn them in unidirectional/multidirectional pairs. Listen to Russian speakers (skype/radio/tv/movies etc) as often as possible. At first it will be all nonsense but with time will pick out words here and there. I am an American English speaker learning Russian .


    Good luck,

    Scott

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    Re: Suggested Textbooks for Reading

    I have listened to books and news in Russian, but almost everything goes right past me. Recognizing one word out of a hundred hardly feels like a victory. Does it help, or is it better to spend that time increasing vocabulary?

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    Re: Suggested Textbooks for Reading

    Quote Originally Posted by Ricochet
    I have listened to books and news in Russian, but almost everything goes right past me. Recognizing one word out of a hundred hardly feels like a victory. Does it help, or is it better to spend that time increasing vocabulary?
    Keep at it - you'll see. Of course learn vocabulary also.

    Scott

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