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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!
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