spanish-listening-practice

10 Websites to Practice Your Spanish Listening Skills

Get your Spanish listening practice en vivo!

En vivo, for the uninitiated, means “live.”

And as you’ll see—and hear!—if you use these news sites, listening to live sources to practice your Spanish skills can be even more rewarding than using prerecorded materials.

Discover the latest news on the Copa America (America Cup soccer/football tournament), Colombian peace talks, disappearances in Mexico, Central American migration, marches in Argentina, elections in Spain and Day of the Dead celebrations in various countries—all while taking your Spanish listening skills to the next level!
 


 
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Why Use Live News Resources to Practice Spanish Listening Skills?

Listening to the news isn’t just great for staying up-to-date with what’s going on and for deepening your understanding of Latin American and Spanish life, culture and politics.

It’s also a great way to improve your Spanish listening skills because the news readers tend to talk clearly, at a medium speed, and often with standardized pronunciation.

You can generally listen live or watch streaming news. If you stream the news, you’ll also be able to pause and repeat sections, which lets you listen again to key phrases if you didn’t understand something the first time.

Another tip is to choose news about a particular issue. Before listening, study the key vocabulary around that issue first, then keep your ears perked for your new words as you watch the news.

Listen to the news for at least five minutes a day to maintain your Spanish “ear,” or watch a longer talk show discussion for a deeper dive into the topic.

10 Riveting Spanish Language News Sites for Listening Practice

For each site on our list, we’ll include a general overview of the site and the topics it deals with, as well as the dialects or accents that you’ll encounter.

EFE

Dialects/accents: Diverse Latin American and European Spanish dialects and accents

Topics covered: International news, culture, sports, technology, politics and economics

What you should know: Headquartered in Spain, EFE is the fourth-largest wire service in the world. Because it’s so big, you can choose between Latin America and Spain versions of the site, and there are versions of the site in other languages, too.

A news item with an image of an arrow over its photo indicates that there’s also a one to two-minute news video to accompany the story. Find more stories through the categories in the menu at the top, or browse through even more videos, sorted by topic, on EFE’s YouTube page.

For extra practice, EFE also has its own news-based vocabulary and listening exercises. The exercises are graded by level, and you can listen to the news and read the article at the same time. You can choose from vocabulary and grammar articles, and there’s even a section just for news about music.

CNN en Español 

Dialects/accents: Various Latin American accents, US-Latin American

Topics covered: World news, US news, Latin America, health, technology, entertainment, travel, money and sports

What you should know: CNN en Español is a 24-hour news channel broadcasting to the US and all of Latin America. Go to the video section for all of the news video clips, and choose an issue you’re interested in. Alternatively, click on “radio” for audio only, including a live stream.

Clarín

Dialects/accents: Argentinean

Topics covered: Local and national economics and politics in Argentina, some international news, sports, entertainment, fashion, travel and lifestyle

What you should know: Clarín is the largest newspaper in Argentina, and is somewhat well known locally for its opposition to the previous Kirchner government. Its WebTV section includes short news video clips, sorted by topic.

SBS

Dialects/accents: Various, and Standardized Spanish—closest to Mexican accent

Topics covered: Latin American news

What you should know: This Australian multicultural and multi-language news channel has a one-hour program in Spanish each day. You can listen to today’s program or select any of the programs from the previous week. The program includes news summaries and in-depth interviews with important personalities.

La Prensa

Dialects/accents: Panamanian

Topics covered: International news, cooking and technology

What you should know: Because La Prensa means “the press,” you’ll find that most countries have a newspaper or channel with the same name. This one comes from Panama.

With a conservative leaning, it has a strong reputation internationally as a fairly independent voice. The agency’s video page has clips covering most of the world (not just Latin America), and a special section dedicated to local cooking recipes.

RT

Dialects/accents: Various, mostly Latin American

Topics covered: World, Russian and Latin American news, as well as a range of news shows with economic analysis, life stories, media analysis and more

What you should know: “RT” actually stands for “Russia Today” but like we saw with SBS above, some great resources for Spanish listening practice come from surprising places!

Based in Russia, RT’s Spanish version was launched in 2009. The channel has its own Spanish-speaking correspondents in various US cities, Mexico, Spain, Argentina, Venezuela and Cuba.

You can watch the news live at any time of day, and I’ve found its streaming technology to be among the fastest available, with no loading or stalling problems. They also have a page for video clips, and another for unusual Spanish-language videos from around the internet.

TV Azteca

Dialects/accents: Mexican

Topics covered: Mexico, some international coverage, health, finance, technology and entertainment

What you should know: Azteca is Mexico’s second-largest media company. It has an international branch which broadcasts in parts of Central and South America.

TV Azteca’s live news coverage is good for streaming, and the site’s home page has many kinds of video clips at the bottom of the screen. These videos can also be sorted by the various categories in the far-left column. TV Azteca’s YouTube channel is also updated several times an hour with new news clips.

teleSUR

Dialects/accents: A range of Latin American accents, non-Latin Americans talking in Spanish and some coverage in indigenous languages, with portions in sign language

Topics covered: Venezuelan news, Latin American regional news, international news (especially third-world countries), sports and expert discussions

What you should know: teleSUR is a Latin American channel that broadcasts throughout most of the region. It was the result of an agreement between a range of countries with left-wing governments, including Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Nicaragua and Argentina, which had a left-wing government at the time. Its news coverage tends to be more in-depth and analytical, and generally promotes Latin American culture and covers issues related to the poorer population sectors.

A handy right-hand column next to the live news broadcast tells you what programs are coming up (usually a mixture of long news programs or news and economic analysis programs). You can also click on the “VIDEOS” tab in the top menu to select news clips, interviews, programs and documentaries, which in turn can be sorted by topic or country categories.

News in Slow Spanish

Dialects/accents: European (Spain) or Latin American dialects

Topics covered: Spanish, Latin American and world news, with the occasional lighter story

What you should know: This news site is designed specifically for Spanish language learners. The first time you visit the homepage, you need to choose between Spain (European) or Latin American Spanish (if you change your mind, you can also switch between the two later through a drop-down menu at the top of either site).

While listening, you can follow a transcript, which includes words in pink that can be moused over for an English translation. You can adjust the speaking speed as well.

Despite the exercise-like format, the news content is up-to-date, covering issues from around the region. The weekly news stories also come with grammar, expression and pronunciation lessons, as well as a quiz. Though it’s free, you may need to log in to access some of the content; a paid subscription also gives you access to flashcards.

Caracol

Dialects/accents: Colombian

Topics covered: Colombia, sports, entertainment, health and full programs

What you should know: Caracol is a private Colombian television network. It airs two news programs a day, from which you can view the headlines and several news clips on the news page.

If you scroll all the way down to the bottom, you’ll find a link to the Señal en vivo (live broadcast), which includes other content such as Latin America’s infamous telenovelas (soap operas). You can also often find full, documentary-style programs on the same page.

Other Listening Practice Techniques to Try

Of course, listening to the news is just one of many ways to improve your Spanish listening skills. While listening to the news readers is easier, watching soap operas, movies and other television shows will help you with your slang and social expressions.

Podcasts can also be great if you want to improve in a particular area (let’s say you’re a computer engineer and want to improve your technology vocabulary, for example), and YouTube has a wealth of specialty topics, from how-to videos to animals, pranks and more.

 

There you have it: Ten great, free online news channels where you can stay on top of Spanish and Latin American news and culture, and improve your listening skills at the same time!


Tamara Pearson is a journalist, teacher and language lover who has lived in Bolivia, Ecuador, Venezuela and now Mexico. She is also the author of “The Butterfly Prison.”
 


 

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