People have their own reasons for listening to podcasts, and they’re all equally valid. You may do it for fun, to learn about a topic of interest, to work, or to learn a new language. Either way, podcasts are a great form of entertainment and a valuable source of education. While they are sort of simple in nature, podcasts are a way to keep up on your favorite interests –a significant part of your identity- all through your ears! Furthermore, there are podcasts for all generations, and you can enjoy them at all times, episode by episode. Thus, podcasts are very convenient for people who don’t have much free time.
We’ll give you our top-notch podcast recommendations if you’re looking for the 7 best English podcasts (free and paid) to boost your language fluency. We understand the influence a podcast can have in someone’s life – whether it makes your day or provides valuable insights, we hear how passionately our students feel about their favorite podcasts. For that reason, we know it’ll be an excellent time investment to explore these 7 Best English Podcasts for you.
The Best English Podcasts
1. VOA Learning English – All Levels
Voice of America Learning English is a multi-genre podcast series so richly varied that it will spoil your ears. In the beginner tier, you’ll find titles like “Let’s Learn English” (by levels), “Ask a Teacher”, “How to Pronounce,” and “News Words”.
Intermediate learners can explore shows within the health, lifestyle, science, technology, arts, and cultural realms.
Additionally, advanced learners will entertain themselves with world news updates and grammar hacks. Thus, as you progress in your fluency journey, things will get more and more exciting!
2. Easy Stories in English – All Levels
The podcast Easy Stories in English provides you with naturally narrated content, and it’ll be easier for you to recognize new vocabulary and comprehend tricky grammar rules. Hosted by Ariel Goodbody, each episode presents stories adapted to your English level, all the way from A1 to C2. The stories are funny, dramatic, and amusing but never too difficult to understand.
3. The Past and the Curious – B1+
The Past and the Curious is an educational and entertaining history podcast suitable for all audiences. It touches on events, characters, and movements in history in an engaging, creative way that is easily understandable for kids and adults. Episodes are spiced up with humorous, little-known anecdotes about figures or curious innovations throughout humanity’s time. The content is not overwhelming at all. The podcast lasts only 30 minutes! However, the host may speak too fast for you if you’re barely starting to learn English. Therefore, we recommend this podcast to intermediate and advanced learners.
4. American English Podcast – All Levels
Simply scripted and cleverly targeted to your needs, the American English Podcast aims to help you upgrade your English level and teach you about the history and culture of the USA. This podcast has a structured and systematic way to improve your language level. Its content includes definitions, vocabulary and listening exercises, shadowing practices, and challenges to push your fluency forward.
5. Freakonomics Radio – C1+
Its foundations are the successful book “Freakonomics,” which explains the economy in a pop-culture way. Freakonomics Radio caters to listeners who enjoy topics ranging from science to economics. Hosted by Stephen J. Dubner and Steven D. Levitt, the podcast provides insights into things you’re thinking about and ideas you thought you knew about. Therefore, you’ll undoubtedly learn new things along with your listening experience. Some titles that catch our attention are “What exactly is college for?” and “I’ve been working my ass off for you to make a profit?”. Controversial and current topics are the cherry on top of each Freakonomics Radio episode.
6. Something Rhymes with Purple – B2+
Gyles Brandreth and Susie Dent are the hosts of Something Rhymes with Purple, a podcast that looks into the origins and uses of words. Gyles and Susie bring their infectious love for language to the show to uncover its hidden roots, understand how and why we use the words we use, and test our language knowledge. The podcast has won the Gold Award for Best Entertainment at the British Podcast Awards, and it’s easy to see why. The hosts have great personalities and humor senses. Thus, they’ll take you on an entertaining journey exploring the history of words and their meanings while keeping a balance between interesting facts and fun trivia. Something incredibly positive for your listening practice is that the speech of the hosts tends to show features of the Received Pronunciation (RP) English accent, which is neutral.
7. Crime Junkie – C1+
Do you like true crime stories? Do you love podcasts? You won’t be able to live without this! Crime Junkie is a weekly true-crime podcast dedicated to giving you the goosebumps you need to get your blood flowing after a long day. Every Monday, Ashley Flowers passionately narrates the crime she’s been following that week. However, listening to the show feels like you were talking about crime with a friend. It’s the magic of compelling storytelling! The host’s speech is straightforward to follow yet remains suspenseful. If you can never get enough true crime, you probably are a crime junkie!
Are you Ready to Learn English like a Boss?
Then, our English coaching team has these recommendations for you!
Listen First Without a Transcript or the Essential Vocabulary
This step will help you contextualize what has been said in the podcast. You can take notes of the words you don’t understand as you go along, and you may find what it means later in the podcast.
Use the Key Vocabulary and Transcript
If a podcast includes a transcript (which you should try to find), use it as a guide, something to fall back on when you don’t grasp something despite your best efforts. You can use the transcript to follow along with the speech. So, before looking at the essential vocabulary, check the transcript for any words you don’t understand. Maybe it’s just pronounced differently than you expected.
Change the Speed of the Podcast
Does the audio go too fast? Slow the speed down. You will be amazed at how you can progress with small challenges.
Write a Summary of the Podcast
What was it about? What were the key arguments? What new things did you learn? Did you agree with the opinions on the show? Writing down your new knowledge will help you realize that, even if you didn’t understand every single word, you have understood the main points of the topic.
Make Your Own Personal Vocabulary List
Gather the vocabulary, expressions, and phrases relevant to what you want to be able to say. You can categorize your list or make it relatively disorganized. Use your vocabulary list to make sentences and practice your new words. For example, words you might use at the grocery store, or words you might use at a business meeting.
Shadow the Podcast
Remember when you were a kid, and you mimicked a sibling’s speech while they were speaking to make them mad? Then, you’ve been shadowing since you were a kid. Shadowing consists of listening to someone and then practicing what they say simultaneously as the original speaker. Thus, shadowing will make you lose your shyness and sound like a native! It also helps you stay tuned in to the show. Sometimes it’s easier to daydream when you’re listening in your second language, but shadowing helps you stay connected to what you’re listening to.