Give your motivation an outlet

You’re really keen to start speaking your new language and after your language classes each week you review what you’ve learned and do your homework. But you’d love to be doing more – and more you should! The best, quickest way to learn to speak a new language is to practice it everyday. A little everyday gets your brain used the way this new language works, AND it means you have no time to forget what you’ve already learned, meaning you can progress faster.

So what can you do to keep progressing? There are many ways to practice and improve your language skills, one of which is through buying a text book and studying at home.

Have you been burned before?

If you’ve decided that a text book is a way forward for you, the next step is choosing and buying the book. And here’s where things get dangerous. The quality of textbooks varies widely, and has very little to do with the price. If you’re buying a language book for the first time, its difficult to know if you are making the right purchase. The wrong purchase, as well as costing you money, is also very demotivating and a killer for your language progress, as you have on your hands a text book that you can’t use and don’t want to use, and that is completely unsuited to your learning needs.

What to avoid in a textbook

So how to choose an appropriate textbook? Firstly, stay clear of anything that promises outrageous results. Any “learn to speak in 3 months” or “10-minutes a day” book is not a book for you. So is a book that only provides explanations and never gives you the opportunity to practice. Anything that progresses too fast will leave you frustrated and unmotivated.

Also avoid textbooks that are designed to be used in the classroom. These books will often be written entirely in the language you are learning – which is great while you’re in the classroom, but not so great while you’re at home and there is no one around to explain the meaning of words and the way the language works.

How to choose a great textbook

You want a language study textbook that:

  • Progresses at a very steady pace
  • Gives you lots of practice exercises and drills
  • Provides short, clear explanations (in English if you are a beginner)
  • Is at your level (or a bit below – there is no harm in reviewing the basics)

A slow-paced book gives you the chance to practice and reinforce what you are learning. A book that goes to fast is difficult because you have to think too much (which is fine once in a while, but this is a book that you will use every day – including after work when you are tired and thinking is the last thing you want to do). The most important thing in learning a language is motivation – and a book that meets the above bullet points is the easiest to pick up again and again and again.

Your one-stop shop

We’ve hand selected what we consider to be the best self-study textbooks on the market, and grouped them together in one place. Go to Language Hub Shop, look at the books tagged as “self-study” and take your pick.

If you don’t like our selection, any book you can find with a title such as “500 exercises….” “…drills…” “succeed the XX exam” “…practice exercises…” is likely to be good.