Here's an excellent source for English listening practice. You'll find lots of exercises here for all levels. Just click on the level or type of exercise that you want to try. Some of these are original exercises and some are links to other listening exercises. These will keep you busy for a long time!
The America Project
Level: Upper-Intermediate / Advanced
Listening to as much English as possible is a great way to improve your ability. At this site, you'll find some very interesting radio stories about American people. The stories were originally broadcast on American public radio stations. There are 19 stories to listen to on this site. To see the complete list, click on the archive link.
Listen to one or more of these stories. If you have trouble understanding the story, listen to the story again. As you listen, write down vocabulary words that you don't understand. Use your dictionary to find the meanings. After listening, write a short report on the story. Answer these questions:
1) What were the main events in the story?
2) Who were the characters (people) in the story?
3) Where did the story take place?
4) What kind of story was it? (Funny, serious, sad, etc.)
5) Did you enjoy the story? Why or why not?
Ananova: Virtual Newscaster
Do you watch the news on TV? Ananova is the world's first virtual newscaster. She's not a real person, but a computer creation. She has been programmed to read real news in a realistic way. To watch the newscast, just click on her picture. What do you think about Ananova? Does she seem like a real newscaster? Check out the links on the site for more information about Ananova.
Why don't you try to do your own newscast? Just find some news stories on the Internet or the newspaper. Make them shorter by editing any information you don't need. Then sit behind a desk and read it to your class. (If you have a video camera, you can even tape it!)
At this amazing site, you can listen to some of the most famous and important speeches in history. Every day you'll find a new speech to listen to. Use the SEARCH BOX or the BROWSE SPEECHES menu to find other speeches. You can listen to many famous and historical speeches here. For example:
-Neil Armstrong on the moon.
-Lou Gehrig saying goodbye to his fans.
-Robert Kennedy announcing Martin Luther King's assasination.
-Edward Kennedy speaking at his brother Robert's funeral.
-Richard Nixon announcing his resignation.
-Paul McCartney announcing he's not dead. Really, he's not.
Read a short segment of each speech and some information about the speech before you listen to it. If the speech is too difficult, listen to it several times. What do you think the main idea is?
All of these stories are related to sounds and you can listen to some very rare and interesting sounds. For example, you can hear:
-a story about some rare tape recordings from the Vietnam war...
-a story about how sound effects are made for the movies...
-a story about a woman who collected more than 4000 folk songs from her home state of Vermont (US)... and lots more!
To use the site, just click on the story you want to hear. Then you can read about the story and listen to it on your RealPlayer.
Sometimes we hear so many sounds that we don't really notice them. Think about the sounds that you hear everyday. Pay close attention to sounds that you hear in one day and make a list of them. Compare them with your classmates' lists.
The Mercury Theatre on the Air
Before television was popular, people in America used to listen to exciting dramas and mysteries on the radio. The Mercury Theatre on the Air (1938) was one of the most popular radio programs. Orson Welles was a popular actor who started this weekly program. At this site, you can listen to many of these original shows. The most famous show is "War of the Worlds," a drama about Martians who invade Earth. The program sounded like a news program, so many people thought that Martians were really invading, and there was a lot of panic. Some of these shows may be a bit difficult to understand, but they are really interesting and fun to listen to!
Do you like scary stories? Here are four traditional ghost stories and folktales from the American South. You can READ these stories, or you can LISTEN to a storyteller telling the story. New stories will appear each month, so check back.
Do you know a traditional folktale or story from your home country? Make a few notes about the story, and then tell the story to your classmates.
Randall's ESL Cyber Listening Lab
At Randall's, you can choose from a long list of interesting listening activities. You can choose a level from Easy to Very Difficult. First, listen to the conversation. Some conversations are short, and some are longer. After you listen, try to answer questions about the conversation to test your understanding. Finally, you can read the tapescript to check anything you're not sure about. You can listen as many times as you want to each conversation, and there is a wide variety of conversations to choose from. There are even a few video conversations!
Takako's Great Adventure
Takako's Great Adventure is an exciting story about Takako, a Japanese girl who travels to Canada to visit her pen pal, Christine. She is met at the airport by a man who says he is Christine's uncle. But there is something strange about this man. Something doesn't seem right.... This mystery has ten episodes. You can listen to each episode and then do some interesting activities. You can also read the tapescript for each episode. The tapescript has a very useful feature that lets you find the definition for new vocabulary by clicking on the word.
World Talk Radio
Listening to the news in English is a great way to improve your listening skills! At this site, you'll find links to English news and talk shows from 14 different countries. By listening to news from different countries, you'll have a chance to listen to various English accents
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