List of German Text Books for Beginners (A1)

Passwort Deutsch 1
Passwort Deutsch 1

German as a Foreign Language: A1, ACTFL Novice, ILR 0/0+

Wondering about the best course book for teaching German to beginners? In the following list, you’ll find German A1 (ACTFL Novice & ILR 0/0+) course books based on The Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) for Languages. These course books are used in European foreign language schools and they are acknowledged by the Goethe-Institut (GI), a German cultural institution operating worldwide and promoting the study of the German language abroad.

Goethe-Institut examinations and certificates are accepted as a language qualification by employers and various education institutions in Europe and many other countries. Courses, common reference levels, exams, and certificates range from A1 (the beginner’s level) to C2 (proficient speaker).

German A1 common reference level is usually divided into two courses: A1.1 and A1.2. According to Germany’s international broadcaster aimed at the overseas market - Deutsche Welle (DW), sponsored by the German government - A1 is reached with cca. 75 hours of German study.

European Framework of Reference A1: the beginner's level

In the U.S., the European Framework of Reference A1 is equivalent with:

  • The Interagency Language Roundtable (ILR) scale: ILR Level 1 – Elementary Proficiency (0/0+)
  • The ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines: Novice – Low (0), Novice – Mid (0/0+), Novice – High (0+)

CEFR language level equivalents

A1 – Breakthrough or beginner's level
Elementary Proficiency: 0/0+
Novice-Low: NL (0)
Novice-Mid: NM (0/0+)
Novice-High: NH (0+)
Table 1. Correspondences published by the American University Center of Provence

German A1.1 and A1.2: Course Books for Beginners

Looking for the right "German as a Foreign Language" A1 beginner’s textbook/course book? Teacher or learner, you may choose between these editions:

Coursebook Title
eurolingua Deutsch 1: Volume 1
Language: German. A1 level: Unit 1 – 16. Textbook and Workbook. Available online on
Dr. Herman Funk, Michael Koeing et al.
Delfin Level A1 Part 1: A1.1
Language: German. Includes Textbook and Workbook. Audio-CD. Lessons 1-7. Available online on
Hartmut Aufderstraße, Juta Müller and Thomas Storz
Delfin Level A1 Part 1: A1.2
Language: German. Includes Textbook and Workbook. Audio-CD. Lessons 8-14. Available online on
Hartmut Aufderstraße, Juta Müller and Thomas Storz
Passwort Deutsch - Kursbuch 1
Language: German. Textbook and Workbook. Lessons 1-10. Audio CD. Available online on
Ulrike Albrecht, Dorotea Dane et al.
Passwort Deutsch 1 - Lehrerhandbuch
Language: German.Teacher’s Guide. Available online on
Anneliese Ghahraman-Beck

German Coursebook and Teacher's Guide

German Course Books for Beginners: Bilingual Editions

Most popular bilingual German course books for beginners (in English and German):

Bilingual German Coursebooks for Beginners

Coursebook Title
Ultimate German Beginner-Intermediate
Language: English and German. Coursebook. 40 lessons. Available online on
Ingeborg Lasting, Heidi Singer
Living Language; large type edition edition (September 21, 2004)
Language: English and German. Coursebook. Available online on
Paul Coggle, Heiner Schenke
Unkown (2009)
Herr Biedermann und die Brandstifter / Rip van Winkle
Language: Spanish and German. Workbook with grammar explained. Available online on
Roland Schäpers, Renate Luscher and Manfred Glück
Verlag für Deutsch (1998), Max-Hueber
Bilingual Coursebooks: German-English, German-Spanish

Bilingual German Coursebooks

Ultimate German Beginner-Intermediate (Coursebook) (Ultimate Beginner-Intermediate)
Ultimate German Beginner-Intermediate (Coursebook) (Ultimate Beginner-Intermediate)

German Coursebook: Bilingual for Beginners: German-English

Herr Biedermann und die Brandstifter / Rip van Winkle.
Herr Biedermann und die Brandstifter / Rip van Winkle.

German Coursebook: Bilingual for Beginners: German-Spanish


Before you Choose your German Coursebook

If you are a teacher getting ready to teach German abroad, learn all about the beginner’s level in learning and teaching German language as a foreign language:

  • what is A1 level in learning foreign languages
  • what are A1 learners supposed to be able to do in reading, listening, speaking and writing
  • how to use alternative teaching materials for the beginner’s level
  • how to play educational classroom games
  • how is the A1 certificate exam for German language structured
  • pick up some learning and teaching German tips

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Comments 13 comments

PWalker281 5 years ago

If I ever wanted to learn German, I'd use your hub as a reference, vox vocis. Excellent overview of what's available for those wanting to learn and teach German. Maybe you could do one for French ;-). Rated up and useful.

P.S. We used to get Deutsche Welle programming here in Hawaii on one of the public access cable channels, but I haven't seen it in awhile. I think the community wanted to see more Hawaiian language programming.

vox vocis profile image

vox vocis 5 years ago Author

Actually, I could do the same hub for beginners in French:) I've got the material (a brochure of an adult learning center where they teach foreign languages and the internet, of course).

I wrote this hub because a German person currently living in Mexico ended up on my other "German hub" and asked if I could help him to find a coursebook for beginners (he wants to teach the language there). So, instead of listing them in the comments, I wrote a hub :)

Interesting that you know about Deutsche Welle. See, it is a small world after all :)

careercounselor profile image

careercounselor 5 years ago

How about Korean? I here it is a good one for those in business careers.

vox vocis profile image

vox vocis 5 years ago Author

@careercounselor: Interesting idea, but I don't know much about non-European languages :(

careercounselor profile image

careercounselor 5 years ago

That's okay, I like French it is such a beautiful language, I don't think I have tried German yet.

vox vocis profile image

vox vocis 5 years ago Author

@careercounselor: I don't speak French, but plan to learn it some day, too :)

denkmuskel profile image

denkmuskel 4 years ago from Berlin

So Vox, what is the best course book for teaching German to beginners in your opinion. Couldn't figure that out in this hub. And I would add that a good coursebook should not only have a teacher's guide that usually contains not only instructions and grammatical background information as well as templates for bonus exercises. There should also be bilingual glossarys (word-lists) available. The answer key for the students (if they are old or disciplined enough) is a must and CDs with transcriptions of the audio material should be mandatory. The higher level books are usually more equipped. Maybe the publishing houses think that beginners cannot work autonomously. A workbook is a must, integrated or extra. There is only few books that fulfill these criteria for intermediate students (B2). For beginners I haven't done my research yet. We work with Lagune [Hueber] that offers lots of exercises. But in the end it all depends on the teacher and his additional material. A book should deliver or support the teacher's guideline but never be the sole content of the lesson.

vox vocis profile image

vox vocis 4 years ago Author

@denkmuskel: You're right on the spot there! I never use student's books as the sole content of the lesson. Instead, I spend some time reading the texts and solving some exercises, but then I leave the rest for people to do at home and ask me questions if something isn't clear to them. Also, I try to go through exercises similar to those in workbooks so that students can exercise some more at home.

Hueber publications are professional and useful(I use their grammar books and workbooks, too - as a student).

I can't really tell which of the German coursebooks is the best, but as a learner, I must say that Passwort Deutsch isn't that interesting or well-organized (and I've heard this from my friends who are teaching German). Yet, the book is the most widely used German coursebook in Europe, and based on this book learners have their exams, so it might be the best choice. Those German learners (in America or elsewhere) who want to take their exams at the Göethe Institute should also use this book, but they won't find a bilingual glossary at the end, and will have to use a dictionary on the side.

I'd be very glad if you'd list those B2 books meeting the criteria here unless you wrote a hub on the topic I could link to. On my way now to see your articles :)

P.S. I teach English and Italian as a second language.

denkmuskel profile image

denkmuskel 4 years ago from Berlin

I've made a hub out of it. Better formatting possibilities. So how far has your German come? I will have to take a close look on your profile later. Although I've hear of "Passwort" I've never had to work with it. It's sometimes hard to understand what authors thought when composing these confusing and incomplete textbooks and it is a pain in the neck to work with bad material. You'll find the hub here:

vox vocis profile image

vox vocis 4 years ago Author

@denkmuskel: I finished B2 in the "volkshochschule" and decided to continue by self-tutoring at home. I should repeat everything and buy the coursebook for C1, and then take the exam. Watching German TV helps a lot: "Deutschland Sucht Den Superstar," for example :) I also like "Wer Wird Millionär" or "Rette die Million." I couldn't read your hub because it's still in the edit mode.

Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 4 years ago from Houston, Texas

My grandparents could speak German but did not pass that knowledge on to their kids, except a few words or in a few songs. Back in that era and prior to it, many of the people coming to the U.S. strove to learn English and be assimilated into the culture as quickly as possible. Far different from many who come here today and expect to be taught in their native tongues. Somewhere in those 2 scenarios, there is a happy medium. Voted useful.

vox vocis profile image

vox vocis 4 years ago Author

I'm happy to learn German (although it's not easy) and I love learning foreign languages in general. Many newcomers don't respect the states where they have started their new lives and they just ask for their rights as if they haven't gotten too much already.

Karim Bounou 2 years ago

thanks ^^

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