Extensive Listening

Like Extensive Reading, the idea behind extensive listening is that you can improve your listening skills by listening to a lot of things that are just a little above your current listening level. That is, you can understand almost all of what is being said, there being only a word or two, or an idea, that you don't understand. Using extensive listening is a good way to build up your listening skills to prepare yourself for IELTS listening.

The following websites can give you a lot of practice using extensive listening:

Randall's ESL Cyber Listening Lab (American English)
This website has many listening exercises ranging from Easy to Very Difficult, each followed by a little online quiz to test your understanding of what you just heard. Try it out by listening to several exercises to find your level, then listen and enjoy!

www.newsy.com (American English)
This website gathers the latest news from a number of different sources and combines them into short videos by topic with a transcript. This is ideal for listening, watching and reading the world's news in English. If you want to learn more about a story, Newsy.com gives you the links to each story's sources right above the video.

English as a Second Language (ESL) Podcasts
A collection of 30 of the latest MP3s with transcripts on current topics from around the web. Updated regularly. Warning: Some sites appear to be blocked.

Breaking News English (British English)
This website is huge, with over 1,300 short news stories and current events lessons with MP3s, transcripts, and exercises for reading and listening. In addition, there are easier news stories, over 13,000 conversation topics, and easy listening exercises.

Spotlight Radio (British English)
Fifteen-minute daily radio program of news and features from around the world. The audio is in Special English, which means that it has a vocabulary limited to 1500 words and is about half the speed of normal spoken English. It also has vocabulary word lists, discussion forums and many links to other English-learning websites.

BBC Learning English (British English)
This is the homepage for the BBC World Service's English Learning website. It contains all kinds of items for listening that cover many different interests.

BBC Talk About English Podcasts (British English)
Part of the BBC Learning English website, the Talk About English podcasts has a new podcast every week explaining British slang and presenting some classic English fairy tales.

Repeat After Us (American English)
This website has lots of short readings from famous authors, many of which also have audio recordings, from easy to advanced.

Focus English.com (American English)
Lots of recorded conversations and conversation starters, with vocabulary and idioms. A good way to learn casual spoken American English.

OM Personal English Conversation (American English)
A Spanish website from Argentina, has over 50 English conversations and activities in three levels: elementary, intermediate, and advanced.

TED: Ideas Worth Spreading
Videos of talks by interesting people, some of them famous, in such fields as technology, entertainment, design, science, business and global issues. These lectures can be funny, inspirational, thought-provoking, or informative, or all of those at the same time. Many of them have subtitles that you can read as you listen.