Practice Listening Skills with VOA and BBC English Learning Resources

Lisa C. Newcomer Information

In today’s English Learning Tips, let’s explore ways to practice English listening with online news radio resources!

Listening to or watching the news is a good way to improve your English listening skills
  1. VOA (Voice of America) Learning English
  • Choose the audio materials that best suit your English level: beginning, intermediate and advanced
  • Choose the news based on your areas of interest: health & lifestyle, science & technology, arts & culture, etc.
  • Downloadable MP3 files for all news recordings
  • Full-length transcripts and word lists available
  1. BBC Learning English – Lingohack
  • Mainly intermediate-level materials
  • News available in online video format, embedded with English subtitles
  • Downloadable PDF: word list and transcript
How to effectively use these resources?

Filling in missing words is a common task for IELTS listening. Here’s how to create your own listening fill-in-the-blank quizzes:

  1. Before listening to the news, always remember to preview the listed difficult words and phrases.
  • For VOA Learning English, they are located at the end of the transcript, under Words in This Story. You need to make a conscious effort not to peek at the transcript.
  • For BBC Lingohack, they are listed before the transcript, under Need-to-know language…
  1. Print out the transcript, ask someone else (a family or friend) to block out some difficult words/phrases in the transcript using whiteout or correction tape;
  2. Find a quiet space where you are unlikely to be distracted by noise, grab a pen, and listen to the new clip. Try your best to fill out the blocked-out words;
  3. If you weren’t able to get everything the first time, listen to the news clip one more time;
  4. Go back to the transcript online and compare your answers. How many did you get right?
Alternative way of practicing listening

Dictation! Dictation is writing down a passage that is read aloud. It is a great way of practicing your listening skills, as well as spelling and writing.

  1. Preview the difficult words and phrases;
  2. Grab a pen and a piece of paper;
  3. Listen to the news sentence by sentence. Pause in between, try your best to write down what you’ve heard.
  4. Compare what you’ve written down with the original transcript.
Are you ready to try these methods? Bookmark these two links:

Word of the Day:

Whiteout: white correction fluid for covering typing or writing mistakes.

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