Want an English learning resource that’s new every single day?
Then you better start learning English with the news!
News is called news for a reason: news is by definition fresh and current.
Every day, there are new articles to read in the newspaper and reports to watch on TV.
Learning English with the news will hold your attention while significantly improving your English skills.
To get you started, we’ll show you more than a dozen of our favorite English learning news resources.
Many of them are designed specifically for English learners, while others are authentic media that native speakers already love.
Why Learn English with News?
News articles are written clearly and directly, making them perfect for learning new vocabulary. Similarly, TV news reports are always spoken with a clear, standard accent from the region (like the U.S., U.K., etc.). This will help boost your listening comprehension skills.
Language is also about making sense of real life issues. News programs focus on issues that you care about and on how you live your life. It makes sense to learn English in a context (situation) you can actually use.
Plus, learning with English news can help you connect with English speakers. When you know what’s going on in their world, then you’ll be able to speak their language better. You’ll also have more to chat about with real native speakers!
The Ultimate Guide to News for English Learners (With 12+ Free News Sources)
We’ve split the guide below into four steps that’ll help you find and use English news for maximum learning.
1. Choose English News Learning Sources at Your Level
If you’re a beginner, no problem: you can watch and read the news online at a level that works for you, then go to more difficult stories at your own speed.
The New York Times has a weekly column on its Learning Network just for American English language learners. The stories are written in a way you can understand. After you read, take the quizzes on punctuation and word choice.
And it’s free!
The VOA Learning English Channel has news for beginner English learners here. You can listen to English podcasts or videos and read along with the text. The videos also include subtitles and the commentators speak slowly and clearly—about a third slower than regular broadcasts.
That gives beginning learners a chance to keep up. Plus, listening online means you can hit the pause button and read the subtitles at your own rate.
When you’re ready, VOA Learning English also has news for intermediate learners.
The BBC offers a daily program called Words in the News for upper levels of British English learning. The reports show you important words, then show you a news story that includes those words.
The words can be difficult, though. Don’t be surprised if you need to review the words in the quiz that comes with the program.
You may also want to subscribe for full access to The New York Times. As The New York Times is of the best-known newspapers in the world, it’s one of the best resources for practicing your English reading.
2. Add More High-quality Authentic News Sources
Lots of really mediocre (not so good) content is out on web. Go for quality.
Seek out authentic (designed for native speakers) news sources with crisp, clear writing. The sentences should be short and declarative, which means they should use a subject-verb-object pattern. The writing in the story should be as easy to read as the headline (title at the top of the story).
USA Today has a lot to offer language learners, because the writing style is very direct.
Try to find news sites where the staff comes from different cultures. The stories are more likely to give you more than one viewpoint (perspective) on a problem.
The news staff at The Guardian fits that definition. Plus, with a click on a tab, you can switch to English language vocabulary and news more suited to Americans, Brits and Aussies. The Guardian’s Learning English section has a crisp, clean writing style as well.
Some websites bring together the best quality news stories the internet has to offer. They’re called aggregate (combining) sites, which means they put all the good videos in one place. Video news has a particular advantage for English learners because you can see, hear and read all at once, but you need a good collection (group) of videos to draw from.
One service that has a very immersive collection of English videos is FluentU. FluentU gets videos from top news programs, and adds interactive captions that provide definitions that are easy to understand. Just click any word to see its definition. The definitions include example sentences that show you how the word is used.
You can even add those words to your own personal vocabulary list. That means your dictionary can grow with you as you continue learning with the videos. Apart from the news videos, FluentU has many other interesting videos too, like movie trailers, inspiring speeches, YouTube clips and more.
3. Watch and Read English News That Matches Your Interests
Politics isn’t your thing? Plenty of other types of news are out there.
Finding news in English on topics you care about will keep you motivated to learn. Plus, it’s just more interesting.
Love football/soccer? You know there are web sites for that. If you’re an advanced speaker, ESPN may be a great site for you.
ESPN Soccer offers all the soccer coverage you want, including stories about the game in just about every country in the world. You may be able to see some broadcast videos if your cable provider can give you access.
As a beginner, you want to find the right kind of sports site that’ll give you information in a way you can understand. Lots of sports commentators speak very fast and seem to shout. You also usually don’t get to see the commentator as he or she speaks, which can make it hard to understand.
So instead, pick sources that break information down into smaller pieces. The Midfield Dynamo Football Site creates all its news in Top 10 lists. The site is great for picking up on British idioms and humor. Real Clear Sports similarly regularly organized news into Top 10 lists.
For example, you can find out the top NCAA tournament scorers and the top dumbest plays in sports history.
Sites designed for younger readers also work well for English language learners and still provide specific information that you find interesting.
For example, travel buffs will love National Geographic Kids and science fans will enjoy Kids Discover. Sports Illustrated for Kids can give beginning and intermediate learners their sports in text and video forms.
How-to stories give information that you care about in a detailed way. How-tos do exactly what the name suggests: tell you how to do something that you want to learn.
InStyle Magazine offers instructions on everything from selecting the best lipstick to getting a good fit in petite (small) clothes. InStyle’s writing is clear and the words are ones you most likely want to know.
If you like to jog for fitness, Runners World gives you lots of how-to information and videos on everything from picking the right shoes to getting ready for a marathon. As with lists, how-to stories put information together in an organized way. That structure helps you find patterns because the information comes in pieces that fit together neatly.
4. Read the News Out Loud with a Pen in Hand
Instead of just reading words to a story inside your head, read the words out loud. Reading out loud helps you slow down and sort out the words’ meanings. If you don’t know a word, highlight it or write it down. If the meaning doesn’t become clear later in the paragraph, go back and look it up in a dictionary. Reading news is a great way to learn English because the articles tend to be short and the vocabulary tends to stay the same on each topic.
Let’s say you’re reading the Time for Kids article “Should Plastic Straws Be Banned?” As you read, you’re going to find unfamiliar words and idioms.
Right away, you’ll encounter the word ban. You’ve got your pen ready to write down the phrase. Rather than dragging out a dictionary, keep reading. It probably will become clear quickly that ban means to prevent people from having/using something. If the meaning doesn’t become clear, you don’t have to hunt for the word later. You’ve got your list ready.
If you don’t know a word in an online video, hit the pause button and write the word down. Come back to it later and find the definition.
Having the subtitles available for videos can make all the difference in learning English. Play the video with the sound on and listen carefully to the pronunciation. Rewind and play the same section again, but this time with the sound off. Read the subtitles (those words at the bottom of the screen) out loud. You’ve already selected content at your learning level and on topics you care about. Reading the text with the video will help you build English vocabulary on things that interest you, plus give you more confidence in your pronunciation.
As mentioned earlier, you might find FluentU and its interactive English subtitles useful here. FluentU also has a video-based quiz that you might want to check out.
Use the news in a way that works for you! These four steps and tons of valuable English learning news resources will get you started.
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn English with real-world videos.