I love reading. I really really love reading. In addition to finding reading enjoyable, it also helped me learn English. The problem is that I don’t always have time to read. However there are lots of times when my brain is not that busy — these are the times when I`m working out at the gym, walking my dog, riding a bus to work, or doing things around the house like cooking and cleaning. This is where audiobooks and podcasts come in. Just like regular books, audiobooks can help you learn new words. Also, audiobooks and podcasts can help you improve your pronunciation by providing you with examples of how words and names of people and places are pronounced.
Depending on your level of English, you might want to choose audiobooks that are adapted specifically for English language learners. They are called graded readers and can be found in stores that sell English language textbooks and even in regular bookstores. Alternatively, you can search for graded readers online. Typically, in stores graded readers are sold as books with a CD. Similarly, online versions come as PDF and MP3 files. This means you can listen to the CD/audio files and then use the book/PDF file to see how words are spelled or to double-check your understanding of the story.
Podcasts are a programs that are similar to a radio or television show but that is downloaded over the Internet. Some, usually shorter podcast episodes come out daily, while others are posted weekly or even monthly. The great thing about podcasts is that they are typically free. You can listen on your laptop or tablet — simply go apodcast’s webpage. You can also download podcast episodes as mp3 files and save them on your mp3 player or your phone. The easiest way to listen to podcasts is on your smartphone by downloading one of the many free podcast apps. Users of Apple devices (e.g. iPhone and iPad) have the option of using the Podcasts app that is free and easy to use and there are many options for the users of Android devices, like Google Podcast or Castbox.
Depending on your level of English, you can either choose a podcast for students of English, or regular English language podcasts. Examples of podcasts for English language learners are: The English We Speak, All Ears English Podcast, 6 Minute English, BBC Learning English Drama, Elementary Podcasts by the British Council, PodcastsinEnglish.com, Better at English, Voice of America Learning English, Business English Pod and ESL Pod. Some of my favorite regular podcasts are: 99% Invisible, Scientific American Podcast: 60-Second Science, Freakonomics Radio, BBC News, Planet Money and Hidden Brain.
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