ESL/TOEFL: Practice Listening & Improve Your Vocabulary with Radio Shows

Radio shows are a great way to practice listening to spoken English. Many radio shows post their episodes online and also include the text of the show. This way you can both listen to the show and also read the show. Reading the text allows you to check your understanding of what you heard. In addition to practicing listening skills, this is also a great way to learn new vocabulary. Below are links to some of my favorite radio shows available online.

Voice of America

News stories.  Easy to intermediate vocabulary.
  • For Voice of America, look for news stories with videos.  Below the video, you'll find the text of all the spoken parts.  For example, see the video of this story about the 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act in the United States.  


NPR TED Talks 

Talks by experts in technology, education, and design fields.  Advanced vocabulary.
  • For the NPR TED Talks, try listening to this segment called, "Are we happier when we stay in the moment?"  You can find the audio here.  On that page, click the play button to listen to the show.  You can also click on the the word "transcript" to see the text of the show.  


NPR This American Life

Interesting stories covering many topics.  Advanced vocabulary.
  • For NPR This American Life, try listening to this very interesting episode about a Native American tribe.  Here is the transcript to follow along. 


Yes, Melissa, I agree and have done the same, particularly, with NPR segments because my student can hear and then read (or vice versa) and then listen and read together and then listen and read the piece again. I appreciate the content and the many ways I can present it/use it to generate individualized curriculum. I try to assign students NPR segments that directly correlate with their interests. I have them generate vocabulary lists and we do grammar exercises from the article (for example, find all the phrasal verbs). I like to have them write shore response opinion essays, too. Claire


Melissa I.

Proofreading, Writing, and Editing - ESL & Academic

50+ hours
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