Bite-Size Arabic
Learn to Read and Write Arabic Using the Tiniest Bit of Vocabulary and Grammar

For teachers of Arabic

Bite-Size Arabic: Learn to Read and Write Arabic Using the Tiniest Bit of Vocabulary and Grammar is a new introductory textbook of the Arabic writing system designed for use both in a classroom setting and by independent learners. Bite-Size Arabic can be effectively used as a replacement for Alif Baa in the Al-Kitaab series of textbooks and as a preparatory book for other textbooks requiring prior knowledge of the writing system or in which the writing system is introduced too quickly. In addition to the writing system, Bite-Size Arabic also introduces a vocabulary of about 135 items and a number of essential grammatical concepts and skills.

The Bite-Size Arabic package consists of the textbook and this free companion website, where students can access audio content and where a freely distributable companion writing workbook can be downloaded. The writing workbook is distributed under a Creative Commons license, allowing teachers and institutions to copy and distribute it essentially without restrictions.

Bite-Size Arabic introduces letters and diacritics a few at a time over the course of twelve units, but unlike in Alif Baa the introduction of vocabulary and grammar in Bite-Size is closely linked to the letters that the student can read: words are only introduced at the point where the student can read them in Arabic script. Furthermore, letters are presented in such an order that basic words such as the singular pronouns, the demonstratives, and the definite article can be introduced early on, allowing students to read complete simple sentences right from the first units. The focus throughout the book is on working with complete sentences using a small, carefully selected vocabulary.

Over the course of the 12-unit book, a vocabulary of about 135 words and phrases and of about 40 personal names is introduced. These vocabulary items are repeated often for reinforcement in the many exercises found in both the book and the companion writing workbook. The exercises are varied in nature, and answers to virtually all of them are given in the answer key at the end of the book and writing workbook.

Apart from vocabulary, each chapter also introduces new grammatical concepts, including:

  • Masculine and feminine forms of singular nouns, adjectives, and demonstratives.
  • Singular pronominal suffixes in combination with nouns and prepositions.
  • Singular verb forms in the present tense.
  • Use of عند ʕind to express ‘have’.
  • The ’iḍaafa construction.
The target language of the book is informal Standard Arabic, without many of the case and mood endings normally omitted in spoken Arabic. However, certain differences between formal and informal Arabic are explained to the student over the course of the book.

If you are interested in this new textbook, I invite you to download a sample PDF, which includes two complete chapters and other sample pages for your inspection. The book is available for purchase on and other Amazon websites worldwide.

Bite-Size Arabic book cover
Download a Sample
Bite-Size Arabic sample page

The sample PDF includes the table of contents, the introduction, two complete chapters, and sample pages of the glossary and answer key.