esl english podcasts

22 English Podcasts Every English Learner Should Listen To

Did you know English podcasts can help you improve your English language skills?

To improve your English listening comprehension, you need to go beyond textbooks and start hearing how the language sounds.

We’ll help you find podcasts that will improve your English.

Contents

22 English Podcasts For Every Level

The English We Speak

Apple | Google | Website

english podcasts

Level: Intermediate

This English language learning podcast series from the the BBC focuses on everyday phrases and slang — the kind of English that native speaker use.

These podcasts are published weekly, and each one is only about three to four minutes long.

Examples of common English expressions explored in the series include “use your loaf,” “skeletons in the closet” and “take the mickey.”

English is spoken at a slightly slower speed in these podcasts to make following along easier. Every syllable is enunciated (pronounced) clearly.

The podcast usually features two presenters having a conversation with each other. Sound effects are also used so it feels like the teachers/speakers are in different locations.

Podcasts in English

Apple | Website

english podcasts

Level: Beginner to Upper Intermediate

Podcasts in English is an English language learning podcast series that features English spoken in a variety of settings.

The short lessons are spoken entirely in English and feature conversations between two English language speakers.

The lessons cover a broad range of topics. Some of the subjects you may hear being discussed are the Winter Olympics, horseback riding experiences and Facebook.

The podcasts are supported by transcripts, worksheets and vocabulary tasks.

EnglishClass101

Apple | Google | Website

english podcasts

Level: Beginner to advanced

This podcast series by Innovative Language lets you choose between four learning levels: absolute beginner, beginner, intermediate and advanced.

The podcasts are presented by hosts who also act out different scenes. Once a scene has been performed, it’s repeated at a much slower speed.

The next section of each episode provides cultural information. This is followed by a focus on vocabulary and phrases, while the last section covers important grammar points.

LearnEnglish

Apple | Google | Website

english podcasts

Level: Beginner to intermediate

The hosts of this very helpful English language podcast take the listener through a number of different scenarios.

These are acted out in dialogue and are the kind of situations people experience every day. The podcasts also include broader discussions of some of the topics.

The presentation is lively, upbeat and engaging, and the English dialogues are spoken at near normal speed.

There’s a lot of good material available to accompany the podcast, some of which can be read beforehand to help you make the most of each lesson.

Splendid Speaking

Apple | Website

english podcasts

Level: Advanced

Splendid Speaking offers an interesting approach to learning English.

Each lesson features interviews and discussions with non-native English language speakers. The recordings also include expert feedback about their performances.

Not only is this a very effective way to learn, but it’s also fun to hear how other learners are coping with the language. You may even be able to spot some of their mistakes!

Better @ English

Website

english-podcasts

Level: Intermediate and above

Better @ English offers a variety of English language podcasts featuring real conversations with native speakers.

Episode topics range from the serious to the silly and everything is spoken at a normal speed.

Listening to real, natural-sounding conversations is a great supplement to classroom and textbook learning. This familiarizes the student with the pace of the language and some of its idioms and common expressions.

Better @ English is suitable for the intermediate student and above, or for the beginner who really wants to challenge themselves. These English language podcasts are accompanied by transcripts and vocabulary notes.

Voice of America Learning English

Apple | Google | Website

english podcasts

Level: Intermediate to advanced

Voice of America is an English language news and information service that include a variety of programs.

There’s a weekly global news program, a science documentary section, programs about the history of America and a series on American English idioms.

All the programs are narrated in English and spoken at a reduced speed. Each podcast is divided into segments and uses music and sound effects to provide an engaging audio experience.

Voice of America is a learning tool that adds variety to structured lessons and conversation exposure.

Business English Pod

Apple | Website

Level: Upper beginner to advanced

Business English Pod offers an audio immersion into the language of the business world, covering important language required for every business situation.

The episodes follow a simple structure with the host speaking for a few minutes on a set topic.

The English is spoken a little slower than normal native speed and is therefore quite easy to follow. There are transcripts, quizzes and vocabulary guidance accompanying each podcast.

Business English Pod provides a good insight into how business is conducted in English-speaking companies. In addition, the lessons offer valuable listening and comprehension practice.

Culips ESL Podcast

Apple | Google | Website

english podcasts

Level: Upper beginner to intermediate

Whether you can barely say “hello” in English or can talk fluently in the language for several minutes, there are some real gems for you here!

The Culips site has podcasts of several different types.

The “Catch Word” podcast focuses on casual expressions, idioms and slang to make you sound more like a native speaker.

The “Chatterbox” podcast features real conversations between people. “Simplified Speech” is a podcast devoted to natural English conversations at a slow, easy-to-follow pace.

These podcasts are all intelligent, practical and well-made.

Speak English With ESLPod

Apple | Website

english podcasts

Level: Intermediate to advanced

ESL Podcast has a vast library of episodes — more than 900 and still growing.

The host for the ESL podcast is Dr. Jeff McQuillan and the other voice you’ll often hear belongs to Dr. Lucy Tse. Both have PhDs in applied linguistics.

Each podcast features a dialogue between two characters. The rest of the episode then concentrates on key words along with their uses and meanings. Each podcast is also accompanied by a learning guide.

The English audio is spoken at about half of normal speed and is therefore easy to follow as a learner.

Luke’s English Podcast

Apple | Google | Website

english-podcasts

Level: Intermediate to advanced

Luke is a qualified English language teacher and stand-up comedian who hosts this engaging and entertaining podcast series.

His intention is to “make you laugh while you learn” and he provides a rich mix of subject material.

A quick look at the titles of some of the podcasts reveals such installments as “Doctor Who Episode—Language Analysis,” “The Prawn Story” and “English Premier League Football.”

Luke has a warm, engaging voice that draws in the listener. The English is spoken at normal speed and transcripts are also available.

This American Life

Apple | Google | Website

english podcasts

Level: Advanced

This American Life is one of the most popular podcasts in the United States. The podcast follows the same format as the radio show of the same name.

Each episode is themed and includes a variety of true tales of everyday people.  Past themes have included “Back to School”, “Amusement Parks” and “Fear of Sleep”.

The podcast features interviews with real Americans from all over the country. For the language student, this is a terrific way to become familiar with regional accents and the different speeds that US English is spoken. 

This American Life is also an exciting podcast.  Some of the stories are moving, funny and surprising.

The Past & The Curious

Apple | Google | Website

english-podcasts

Level: Intermediate

This English podcast focuses on teaching history to kids, but don’t think this is another boring history podcast.

The Past & The Curious is made especially for children and families, so it’s both entertaining (it includes songs) and educational.

Presented by Mick Sullivan, this podcast is perfect learners of English who want to improve their listening skills and break the intermediate plateau.

Sullivan has a very clear diction, so it’s not difficult to follow what he says. He teaches historical facts in a funny and interesting way that makes you feel like you’re inside the story.

News in Slow English

AppleWebsite

english podcasts

Level: Intermediate to advanced

The podcast News in Slow English is an amazing option to help you to improve your listening skills.

Thanks to this podcast, you’ll learn about the world and the events that are happening around us in English.

The speakers read the news slower than usual, so it’s very easy to follow the audio. There are also transcripts available for each story so you can read along.

The News in Slow English website includes different sections that’ll help you to understand the podcasts better and practice their content.

The Grammar section explains a grammar topic from the podcast in a very clear way and with a lot of examples. The Pronunciation and Quiz tabs let you practice your speaking and listening comprehension.

Freakonomics Radio

Apple | Google | Website

english podcasts

Level: Advanced

Freakonomics Radio is an award-winning podcast that “explores the hidden side of everything”. 

The podcast is inspired by the series of Freakonomics books and is hosted by co-authors Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner.  

This podcast is an entertaining and riveting examination of many aspects of our lives.  This includes news, pop culture and political issues both global and local.

Freakonomics Radio explores subjects from a different angles and in some depth. The breadth of topics covered means that you will be able to pick up English for many different facets of life.

There is a lot of light-hearted banter between the hosts which helps to ensure that concepts, issues and points of views are understood. 

Radiolab: Pickle

Apple | Website

english-podcasts

Level: Pre-Intermediate or higher

From the creators of Radiolab, Pickle is a podcast where adults answer easy and not-so-easy questions for children.

The podcast has been created specifically for children, so the language is simple and the speakers talk slowly and clearly.

Pickle covers a topic in each episode and tries to answer different questions related to it.

With this podcast, intermediate learners of English will be able to learn about things such as friendship, the Romans and even moral dilemmas!

This is the perfect podcast if you want to improve your listening skills while learning interesting stuff.

What If World

Apple | Website

english-podcasts

Level: Intermediate to advanced

Even though the What If World podcast was created for kids, I must confess I started listening to it when I was doing research for this post, and now I can’t stop!

If you’re curious about the world and you’d like to have answers to crazy questions (for example: “What would happen if clouds were made of cotton candy?”), this podcast is perfect for you.

Each episode lasts around 20 minutes and revolves around a crazy question that’s used in order to teach concepts and lessons to children.

The podcast is often performed in silly voices and covers some unusual topics, so it might be challenging for beginners.

Tumble

Apple | Google | Website

english-podcasts

Level: Intermediate to advanced

Tumble is another podcast created for kids. This means you’re listening to easy English that even a child can understand.

But even if you’re 50, you’ll learn a lot of interesting things. We’re all like little children when we start learning a new language!

Tumble is perfect for learners of English who are interested in science. Each episode is only about 15 minutes long, and it normally covers one topic related to science and its recent discoveries.

If you want to learn about smells, viruses, human DNA, the moon and even dinosaurs, you’re going to love Tumble.

Dramas from BBC Learning English

Apple | Google |  Website

english podcasts

Level: Intermediate and advanced

Get ready to experience of the greatest English dramas of all time, narrated in an engaging way in short five to 10-minute-long episodes!

The BBC Learning English podcast is aimed at intermediate and advanced learners of English, but I think anyone can give it a try because the episodes are really short and easy to understand with a transcript.

The scripts are available under the text, so you can read and listen to the story at the same time. If you prefer to print the text, you can also download it in PDF format.

Additionally, after the script, you can find a list of the more difficult words with their definitions or explanations in simple English.

Stuff You Should Know

Apple | Google | Website 

english podcasts

Level: Advanced

Stuff You Should Know is an entertaining show that covers many funny and strange questions and topics.

Previous topics tackled by the podcast include: “Do zombies exist?”, “How black boxes work” and “Do objects or experiences make us happier?”

This podcast’s diverse topics and occasional use of technical language exposes the student to a rich source of vocabulary.

Global News Podcast from BBC

Apple | Google | Website

english podcasts

Level: Advanced

Global News is produced by the BBC World Service, the world’s largest international broadcaster. 

The podcast is published twice daily and is a roundup of the latest global news.  The stories have been collected from World Service news output and include interviews and location reports from BBC correspondents.

The BBC presenters and reporters are well spoken and easy to understand.  They possess an excellent command of the English language that will help students to increase their vocabulary.

Scientific American Podcast: 60-Second Science

Apple | Google | Website

english podcasts

Level: Upper intermediate to advanced

Scientific American is one of the world’s premier science magazines and brings the latest science news, features and analysis to the general public. 

This podcast provides daily update of some of the most important developments in research.

The presenters speak with authority on many different scientific topics, using   language that communicates the excitement of scientific research in a way that the average person can understand. 

This is particularly useful for anyone who wants to work in science-related fields or who has a love of astronomy, biology, chemistry, physics and how nature works.

Why You Should Learn with English Podcasts

English language podcasts are an excellent way to learn English quickly.

You can listen to them anytime and anywhere—at your desk or while you’re on the move. And, what better way to pass the time during a long commute than by immersing yourself in an entertaining podcast?

With a little dedication (commitment), English language podcasts can help you quickly improve your listening skills and level.

One perk (benefit) is that podcasts often have transcripts (a written version of the audio). This means that you can listen and read at the same time, or look at a transcript if one part of a podcast confuses you.

How to Use English Podcasts to Improve Your Listening Skills

You already know that using podcasts is a great way to improve your listening skills, but do you know how to make the most (use in a way that’ll give the best result) out of them?

There are a lot of techniques you can use while listening to English podcasts that’ll help you to become a master of English listening.

Listen as background first

To start, you should listen to podcasts in the background while you’re doing something else.

It may seem counterintuitive (unreasonable or the opposite of what you’d expect), but listening to English podcasts while you do other tasks actually helps your brain to get used to the language.

That’s because it lets you get comfortable with the sounds without worrying about understanding the words.

Listen a second time, but now pay close attention

Now listen to the podcast a second (and even third) time and pay attention to all the words and expressions you recognize. If you feel the speaker is talking too fast, try reducing the speed of the audio to 75% (when available).

Read the transcript, if it’s available

Reading the transcript while you listen to a podcast is amazingly beneficial because you’re getting the same information through two different channels: your eyes and your ears.

This helps your brain remember and comprehend more of the language.

Repeat words and sentences out loud

Pause the podcast whenever you want to and go back to words and expressions that are new to you or you think are difficult to pronounce. Repeat them over and over until you get them just right.

Having good pronunciation as well as a large vocabulary is essential for a variety of situations such as using English in school or business English at work.

Pick up new vocabulary and grammar from the podcast

If you look up new words and learn and review grammar bits you hear in each podcast you listen to, you’ll likely remember them a lot easier in the future.

Plus, as you already know, learning new vocabulary and grammar is essential to growing as an English language learner.

Continue studying the new information you learned

So maybe you learned some new vocabulary words and a new grammar concept by repeating a line a few times.

You don’t want this new information to just sit in your notebook. You want to actually use it in your English language interactions.

To do that, you’ll need to keep studying everything you just learned until it’s filed away in your long-term memory.

For example, you can turn the new vocabulary words you learned into flashcards—whether you do this by hand or on your favorite flashcard app.

Another effective way to learn new language information is to see it used in context. The FluentU website and app (iOS and Android) can help you with this.

FluentU has many native English videos, like exciting moments from movies, music videos, inspirational talks and more.

You can watch any video to learn new words and grammar from it (just like you would with a podcast episode), or you can search for specific words or phrases to find videos where they’re used in context.

Seeing new concepts in use will help you better understand when to actually use them.

Plus, you can learn more new words on FluentU by clicking on any word in the subtitles as the video plays. From here, you can see the word used in other videos where it appears.

You can also add the word as a flashcard for review with personalized quizzes that test your writing and speaking skills.

 

Listening to podcasts is one of the best ways to improve your English listening skills, especially if you choose podcasts that cover topics you’re interested in and that are appropriate for your level of English.

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