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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!
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