Improve your Listening Skills with BBC Sounds

How to improve your listening skills using an App with rewind and search functions.

Would you like to improve your listening skills using radio, podcasts and music? Try BBC Sounds.

What is it?

BBC Sounds is an App which lets you listen to BBC Radio, music and podcasts.

Why is it better than the radio?

BBC Sounds lets you rewind audio, even live radio programmes. So, if you didn’t hear or understand the audio the first time you heard it, you can listen to it again (and again), as many times as you like. Also, if you miss the start of a live radio programme, you can press a button and listen from the beginning. You can also jump forward through the audio.

The App also has easy browse and search functions.

What should I listen to?

Start by listening to something that you are interested in. Personally, I think that the news headlines at the beginning of Radio 4’s World at One, PM, and The World Tonight Programmes are good because they provide summaries of the main news stories and they are only 5-10 minutes in length. World Service news headlines are also available if you are not in the UK or can’t get Radio 4.

A good podcast to try is ‘You’re Dead to Me’, a mixture of history and comedy. Basically, it makes history fun and is a really enjoyable way to learn about our past. Topics include “The History of Chocolate,” “The History of Football” and “The Ancient Olympics” – what’s not to like?

The English is too difficult! Help!

You could get some extra help by seeing the text. To do this, if a transcript is not available, try playing the audio into the dictation function of Microsoft Word (or other dictation software). If the audio quality is good, you should see the text of the audio, to help you understand it. Then, play that part of the audio again, to see if you can hear the words clearly.

You can also ask yourself why you didn’t understand the audio when you first heard it – was it a new word for you? Or was the pronunciation different to what you were expecting? Or something else? If you would like some help with your English, MB English Plus offers lessons and courses.

If you can’t use BBC Sounds to improve your listening skills, other podcast listening apps are available, including Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Pocket Casts and Spotify.

Happy Listening!

Photo by bongkarn thanyakij from Pexels

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