Listening tips: five-minute practice using news podcasts

In an earlier post, I’ve given a few tips on how you can use podcasts to improve your English listening skills (you can read it here; also available in Serbian here). This article is for those who have neither the time nor the patience to listen to hour-long programmes, but would like quick and more manageable 5-minute sound bites.

A useful resource, especially for those who like to keep well-informed, are news podcasts. Below you’ll find a short selection of news roundups, each only a few minutes long. As with other podcasts, you’ll be able to access all of them easily in your podcast app, or by following the links I provided.

The World This Hour

This newscast comes from the CBC Radio – Canada’s public broadcaster. It’s hourly updated, and contains the latest news from Canada, as well as the top international stories.

NPR News Now

Similar to The World This Hour, News Now is also updated hourly, bringing you news from the US-based National Public Radio.

Five Minute News

Independently produced, Five Minute News is hosted by British broadcaster Anthony Davis. This one is a pretty good choice for English learners, as Anthony’s diction is very clear, and the delivery is slightly slower (and deliberately so) than in most other news programmes, thus a bit easier to follow.

Learning English News Review

The last podcast I’d like to recommend is not a newscast as such, but a podcast specifically designed for English learners, explaining the vocabulary often heard and used in news programmes. It comes from the BBC World Service, and new episodes come out weekly, on Tuesdays. At the moment of writing there’s a total of 147 available episodes, so there’s plenty of material for you to listen to.

Even if you’re not very interested in listening to news programmes, they can be very useful for expanding your vocabulary and enhancing listening skills in general: if you have some knowledge of current affairs, the content will be known to you (roughly, at least), so you can often figure out the meaning of new vocabulary from the context. Also, a lot of news vocabulary is pretty repetitive: if you listen to the news regularly, you’ll keep hearing the same words and phrases, which makes it easier to learn them.

If you’ve found another news podcast that you liked or found useful, do share the link in the comments section below.

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