Improve Your Listening Skills

Most language learners do not have the opportunity to practise listening enough. There are ways you can help yourself.

A very popular way to improve your listening skills is to use recorded material. You can then listen in a systematic and focused way.

We recommend the BBC website, www.bbc.co.uk/learningenglish.

Click on Features and choose 6 Minute English.

BBC Learning English menu

  • Choose an article.
  • Before you listen, read the vocabulary section  – listening is always easier if you know the key words for the subject.
  • Now listen to the audio. You are in control. You can stop and repeat as often as you need. Make notes about what you understand.
  • Read the transcript and check the vocabulary in the glossary. Compare the transcript to your notes.
  • Listen again and follow the transcript.
  • Finally, listen to the audio without the transcript.

When you are familiar with the subject it is easier to understand the audio, so practise, practise and then practise again.

You can do this exercise with video reports on the BBC News and some YouTube clips have subtitles. For more advanced listening practice and vocabulary development go to www.ted.com.

By Eileen & Barney

Have you used BBC Learning English and TED.com? Which recordings and videos did you find useful? Use the comment box below to tell us.

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