If you prefer to watch a video, scroll to the bottom of the page.
How do you practice your listening skills as a beginner? You want to watch TV shows, movies and YouTube videos in English, but they're just too hard to understand. And that can be frustrating. You can't learn anything if you can't understand anything, right?
Today, I'm going to tell you about 5 podcasts that you can use to practice your listening skills, even if you're a beginner. Most of what you'll hear in these podcasts are stories, which are a great starting point for beginners who want to improve their listening skills. These are all children's podcasts, so the vocabulary and grammar will be a little easier to understand. These podcasts are also great for young English students, since the topics discussed are interesting and appropriate for kids.
When you listen to these podcasts don't worry about understanding every single word. First, just see if you can understand the general story. Then, if you see that there are certain words that you need to know to understand the story, go ahead and look them up. Here's another thing to remember. As an English student you absolutely should be listening to these podcasts more than once to make sure you understand as much as possible. That's a part of learning. So after you look up those words, listen to the story again as many times as you want.
The first two podcasts are called "Story Time - Children's Bedtime Stories for Kids" and "Little Stories for Tiny People: Anytime and Bedtime Stories for Kids". These podcasts have lots of children's stories for you to listen to. They speak a bit slowly so hopefully it will be easier for you to understand. If you give these podcasts a try, one thing you'll notice is the speakers have a variety of accents. They're all pretty neutral and easy to understand, but you can definitely hear a difference. And that's great practice for you. Getting used to different accents as a beginner will save you a lot of frustration as you become more advanced. Some of the episodes from these podcasts are about 5 or 10 minutes long and others are as long as half an hour.
The third one is called "Bedtime History: Inspirational Stories for Kids". This is another great podcast for kids' stories, but these stories are about history and culture. And not just American history and culture. You'll hear stories from all over the world. So if you're more interested in stories about real people and events, definitely try this podcast. The episodes are usually 5 to 15 minutes long.
The fourth one is "The Cramazingly Incredifun Sugarcrash Kids Podcast". This podcast is a little different from the others because they mix storytelling with other things like interviews and songs. It's a fun format. If you're ready for something a little more challenging than some of the other podcasts on this list, try this one out. The episodes are anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes long. I really hope you enjoy this one, when you're ready for it.
And lastly, we have "StoryCub - Video Story of the Day". There aren't a lot of episodes, but believe it or not, this is a video podcast. So if you're not ready to listen to stories without any pictures to help understand, this might be the right podcast for you to start with. Each episode is a video. It's just like watching a video on YouTube. The pictures can be really helpful for beginners and, of course, kids will love them too. Each episode of this podcast is between 5 and 15 minutes long. And remember, they may be a little harder to download since they're videos.
So here are a couple of tips for you about learning English from podcasts. First, a lot of podcast have transcripts available. The transcript is everything that's said in the episode, written down or typed in a document. You can usually find them on the podcast's website. If you have the transcript, my suggestion is that you listen first without the transcript and see how much you understand. Then listen again with the transcript to help you understand anything that you missed the first time.
Second, remember that these podcasts are for kids, but they're still for native speakers, not students. If there are some things that you can't understand, that's ok. If you're looking for a podcast that is specifically for English students then you should definitely stay tuned for the Ivy League English podcast. That's right! It's coming soon. Until then, have fun with these podcasts.
Don't forget to read my article about podcasts for advanced students!
What do you want to see next?
If you prefer to watch a video, scroll to the bottom of the page.
How do you practice your listening skills? Do you watch TV shows, movies or YouTube videos in English? Practicing listening skills is fun! In fact, it's probably what most English students enjoy practicing the most. But what if it's not a good time to be staring at a screen? Or what if you're in a place where the internet connection is not that good. What do you do then? Have you tried podcasts?
Here are the 6 best English podcasts for learning English. These podcasts are intended for native speakers, so the speakers are using natural English. I selected the ones that I thought would be easiest for you to understand. When you listen to these podcasts don't worry about understanding every single word. First, just see if you can understand the general story. Then, if you see that there are certain words that you need to look up to understand the story, you can do that. Here's another thing to remember, as an English student you absolutely should be listening to these podcasts more than once to make sure you understand as much as possible. That's a part of learning. So don't feel badly about not understanding everything after your first time listening.
The first podcast is called "Pop Culture Happy Hour". This podcast is about American culture and current events, the things that are happening in our country right now. Some of the recent episodes are about the Superbowl, the Academy Awards and a newly-released TV show. If American culture and current events are things that interest you, this might be a good podcast for you to try. The episodes are about 20 - 30 minutes long and the two hosts speak very clearly which should make it easier for you to understand them.
The second one is called "Keep Your Daydream". This podcast is about people who leave their "normal" lives to pursue their dreams of traveling the world. It includes a lot of interviews, so you'll get to hear a variety of English accents. You'll also hear about all kinds of travel adventures, so you'll learn useful vocabulary related to that. The episodes of this podcast are anywhere from 20 - 60 minutes long and although the host of this show doesn't have the clearest speech, it is very natural. It's a good example of how some native speakers really talk.
The third one is "The Daily Show with Trevor Noah". This is another podcast about American culture and current events, but this one focuses more on politics than on pop culture. So if you want to know why the US government was shut down for weeks, this might be the podcast for you. It's also a comedy. Humor can be difficult to understand in a foreign language, but if you want to get better at that, you've got to practice. Trevor Noah is incredibly funny. I've been a fan of his for probably 10 years, so I definitely recommend this one.
Fourth, we have "Totally Awesome Films". This podcast is obviously about movies. The host reviews recent movies that he thinks are awesome. He also talks about how the films were made which is pretty interesting. This guy definitely prefers action films, like Aquaman and Black Panther, so if that's what you're into, check this podcast out. You might like it. The episodes are about 30 - 60 minutes long.
Fifth is "Tumble Science Podcast for Kids". This podcast is for the science lovers out there. I chose a kids podcast because science is a subject that has some very specific vocabulary but a kids podcast will take the time to explain some of the harder words. That way you can learn the vocabulary that we use to talk about science. The other interesting thing about this podcast is that kids are involved. You'll get to hear how kids speak which is great practice as you become a more advanced English student. These episodes are on the shorter side, usually not longer than 20 minutes or so.
And lastly, we have "Stories Podcast - A free children's story podcast for bedtime, car rides, and kids of all ages". That's long title! Ok, this is the best podcast for less experienced students. It's another podcast for kids, so the vocabulary and grammar will be a little simpler. If you already watch kids stories on YouTube or somewhere else online, this is a great podcast for you. Why? This podcast has no video, so you won't have any pictures to help you figure out what's happening in the story. You'll have to rely completely on your listening skills and that's more of a challenge.
Here's one more tip for you about learning English from podcasts. A lot of podcast have transcripts available. The transcript is everything that's said in the episode, written down or typed in a document. If you have the transcript, my suggestion is that you listen first without the transcript and see how much you understand. Then listen again with the transcript to help you understand better.
If you're looking for a podcast that's specifically for English students, then you should definitely stay tuned for the Ivy League English podcast. That's right! It's coming soon. Until then, have fun with these podcasts.
What English podcasts do you listen to? Tell me in the comments. I'd love to know. :-)
Don't forget to read my article about podcasts for beginners!
What do you want to see next?