Podcasts are a great resource to help you learn English as a second language. These audio shows are digitally recorded and available for download. They each have a special theme and most have a recording release schedule of one show per week.
There is an overwhelming amount of podcasts available for you to download, and you can keep the files on your smartphone, MP3 player, or computer. This is helpful because you can take the files with you anywhere you go and study whenever you have a free moment.
There are excellent podcasts specifically for learning English that come with worksheets, activities, quizzes, and vocabulary exercises. There are also some great podcasts that are not designed to help you learn English as a second language, but are a good source of natural English.
Podcasts to Learn English as a Second Language
These podcasts are specifically created for ESL learners. The dialogues are carefully written and rehearsed to help you learn English as a second language.
1. Podcasts in English
Podcasts in English is designed to help you learn English. There are different levels of difficulty, and each podcast includes transcripts, worksheets, and exercises.
2. The English We Speak
This podcast by BBC Radio focuses on slang, idioms, and common expressions. The English is spoken very clearly and properly. There are new episodes every week, and each episode is less than five minutes long.
Better@English is focused on you and your ESL learning. The topics are varied and there are tons of new episodes to enjoy. There aren’t any worksheets or quizzes, but each episode comes with a transcript and vocabulary notes.
Podcasts for Listening to Natural English
These podcasts are not created for ESL learners, but are great for listening to authentic, natural English.
Radiolab explores the facts of unknown stories in history. The episodes are edited very well, so the stories don’t get boring and most include an interview with an expert. There is a new episode every week, and an average episode is 35 minutes.
5. This American Life
This American Life is a very popular podcast with many awards. Every story is interesting and entertaining. Each episode is around 50 minutes but split into two or three parts. The most recent episodes are free, but you have to pay if you want to access older episodes.
6. 99% Invisible
99% Invisible is a popular podcast that focuses on strange, unknown, uncommon things that we don’t often think about.
For instance, there is an episode about underground cow tunnels in New York City and the United States’s first female statue. There are new episodes every week and each episode is around 20 minutes.
Invisibilia is hosted by two women. Their goal is simple: teach people about hidden information and unknown history. Each week they provide great episodes with expert interviews.
Their best episode so far is definitely How to Become Batman, which is a story about how society’s expectations limit us. An average episode is about 30 minutes.
8. The Moth
The Moth is a podcast for people who love true stories. Every episode features real people telling their life story to a live audience. Each tale lasts about 12 minutes and each episode contains three stories for a total of about 30 minutes.
The speaking isn’t edited or rehearsed, so you’ll hear authentic English being spoken. It can be fast depending on the speaker’s style and your level of English. Be warned: some of the stories are sad and might make you cry.
Now is the time to start listening to podcasts. You can choose from ESL podcasts specifically designed to help you learn English as a second language or the other great podcasts to help you improve your listening skills.
You can search for new podcasts on iTunes, through a search engine, or on Facebook. Whatever your interest, there is probably a podcast about it! Have fun exploring what’s out there, and make podcasts an enjoyable time for English learning.