If you have a question how to improve listening skills or you want to find some recommended sources, you are in the right place.
Sometimes even people with an advanced level can easily read newspapers and sophisticated literature but struggle with understanding movies, songs and YouTube videos. Have you ever have such an experience when you could not fully understand the film or song, so you decided to switch on captions or find lyrics, and when you did it, you realized that this text doesn't contain any unfamiliar words for you? This might happen for different reasons, but the general rule is your Reading Vocabulary surpass Listening Vocabulary. Mostly this happens because you read more than you listen, and when you read, you don't pronounce each word distinctly in your head.
There might be several recommendations to improve your listening. You will be surprised, but the first one is to read more conscientiously. Rather than quickly skimming one paragraph from another, you can slow down a little and try to pronounce each word in your head. Try to connect the written word with its sound.
But of course, this is not the only option. English has so many different accents, and some natives speak faster than we can understand. In that case, it would be useful to listen to some specially prepared podcasts and videos and elaborate your listening skils by small steps.
I can distinguish sources by four major categories:
- Learning apps
There aren't many of them I want to mention. Mostly because I have never had time to use them, but if you are interested in them, I can recommend trying these:
- Voscreen. App gives you a little piece of video, you should choose the best translation. This game is suitable then you have 5 minutes and want to spend them beneficially but don't have time to do something serious.
- Learnathome. The whole service based on the idea of transcribing YouTube videos step by step in game mode. This service has not only good listening exercises but also very neat grammar tasks. But unfortunately, it relates to Russians, so only someone from the former Soviet Union countries can enjoy it.
- SpeakyReads. The same idea as in Learnathome, but all content is in English, so everyone can use this site.
Let's continue with videos because sometimes video is easier to understand than podcasts. By seeing body language and illustrations, you can complete your understanding by not only that you hear but that you see too. Below you can find my list of the best YouTube channels for my humble opinion, which might help with language practice. Don't forget that these channels reflect my interests and might be boring for you, but in that case, you can find your best channels and share them in the comments. Try not to subscribe for many channels because the more subscriptions you have the more freedom YouTube AI has in choosing which new video show you in the Subscriptions tab, so you can miss very good staff outvoted by YouTube mechanism.
- Bloomberg QuickTake Originals. Everyday American life, controversial stories and historical staff.
- DW News. Quick stories about current life. This news channel tries to be unbiased and it quite successful in it if compare to other news channels.
- Learn English with EnglishClass101.com. Amazing channel with English grammar videos for beginners. They stopped to produce advanced stuff, so now it is only for beginners.
- 74 Gear. Real Boeng 747 pilot and his blog. Interesting aviation stories.
- ABC Australia. This channel tries to focus on ordinary people from Australia and tells their stories. Certainly, from a journalistic point of view.
- ADVEXON TV. Interesting stories about everything (e.g. science, technology, sport, politics). It's a kind of a channel like the staff you should know.
- Aging Wheels. Funny channel about cars. Not like the most crap about cars you can find on YouTube.
- Alexander Travelbum. Channel about travelling around the World on your own money.
- Arienne Parzei. A little boring and oversaturated with ads channel about travelling in Canada. But there are not many channels about Canada, so let me know if you find a better alternative.
- AsapSCIENCE. Short animated videos about everyday scientific questions.
- Astrum. Everything about the Solar system, Earth, and other stars and planets.
- BBC Documentary. Another channel with stories in English.
- BBC Learning English. One of the most popular channels for English learners. Short stories about everything with grammar and explanations.
- BBC Reel. Mini-stories about ordinary people.
- Beyond Science. This channel about controversial stories and theories rather than about science.
- Bright Sun Films. Videos about abandoned places and their history.
- Canadiana. Stories about Canada.
- CanalEliBernal. It was started as a channel for newcomers in Canada but shortly became just another video blog.
- Captain Joe. Captain Joe, airplanes and their stories. An interesting channel about aviation for someone unfamiliar with the subject.
- Car Throttle. This is another YouTube channel about cars. Guys try to produce fun videos about ordinary cars.
- Casey Faris. A good channel for everyone who makes their videos in Davinci Resolve.
- CaseyNeistat. Casey is still a popular vloger, but he is now a retiree a little.
- CaspianReport. A channel about geopolitics.
- CheapRVliving. Sometimes very interesting stories about people living in a car.
- Cheddar. Answers for the questions you would never asked.
- Chris Titus Tech. Simple tips about computers.
- Cloud English. A very interesting but a little moody guy teaches English.
- CNBC. Small stories about contemporaty topics.
- CNBC International. Small stories about different countries.
- ColdFusion. Small stories about contemporary topics.
- CrashCourse. Observing educational channel.
- Curious Droid. Space technology and everything related.
- Dad, how do I?. Channel about housekeeping.
- Daily English Conversation. English vocabulary videos, English grammar videos, English exercises and English lessons.
- David From Vancouver. Channel about Vancouver.
- DCODE by Discovery. History and politics.
- Deep English. English lessons.
- Dev Ed. Web development.
- DoS - Domain of Science. Popular scientific videos.
- DW Documentary. Documentary about modern problems.
- E2 IELTS. English school for IELTS preparation.
- EEVblog. Everything about Electronics Engineering.
- engineerguy. Everything about Engineering.
- Engineering Explained. Videos with white board about cars.
- English Lessons with Adam - Learn English [engVid]. EngVid is a good English school, Adam is a good teacher there.
- English Speaking Success. Speaking practice for IELTS.
- EnglishAnyone. English lessons.
- EnglishLessons4U - Learn English with Ronnie! [engVid]. Another channel for EngVid.
- Epic Family Road Trip. Traveling channel.
- Expedition Jack. Traveling channel.
- Fastrack IELTS. A very good English learning channel from successful expat, it contains information mostly about IELTS.
- Fire of Learning. History channel.
- Freakin' Reviews. Cheap goods' reviews.
- Geeks Tutorial. Small tips about using computer.
- Geography Now. Videos about countries.
- Georgie Harding. This channel teaches you English pronunciation.
- Go Natural English. English teacher.
- Happy Coder. Software for coders.
- harshibar. About productivity.
- History Matters. Historical videos.
- Howcast. Short videos about everything.
- IELTS Advantage. IELTS preparation.
- IELTS Learning Tips. IELTS preparation.
- IELTS Liz. IELTS preparation.
- Insider. Stories about movies.
- Interactive English. English lessons.
- iPhonedo. About video gadgets.
- James Canady. English lessons.
- JayAreTV. How to make videos in Davinci Resolve.
- Kurzgesagt – In a Nutshell. Small scientific videos.
- LastWeekTonight. Political TV-show.
- Learn English with Alex [engVid]. An excel teacher from EngVid.
- Learn English with Bob the Canadian. A good man and an English teacher.
- Learn English with Papa Teach Me. Funny lessons about English.
- Learn English with Rebecca [engVid]. A good teacher from EngVid.
- Learn English With TV Series. English speaking from TV-shows.
- Lecteron. Data science.
- LegalEagle. A lawyer channel.
- LGR. Old computers.
- Mad English TV. English lessons.
- Megaprojects. Huge constructions.
- Mentour Pilot. Videos about aviation.
- Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Words meaning and grammar.
- minutephysics. Simple scientific videos.
- mmmEnglish. English lessons.
- Mustard. Aircrafts' history.
- National Geographic. Geography.
- Nerdwriter1. About art.
- New Mind. About technology.
- Nostalgia Nerd. Old computers.
- PolyMatter. Stories about big companies.
- PowerfulJRE. Interviews.
- Practical Engineering. Construction.
- Rajathon. Books reviews and recommendations.
- Reactions. Small videos about everything.
- Real Engineering. Mostly about war technology.
- Real Stories. Documentaries about people.
- RealLifeLore. Popular scientific videos.
- SAFEisFAST. Driving skills.
- Sam Chui. All modern aircrafts in life.
- Science Channel. How it's made videos.
- SciShow. Popular scientific videos.
- Scott Manley. About space and rockets.
- Simple History. Hostory channel.
- Simpletivity. Productivity tips.
- Speak English With Vanessa. English lessons.
- Steve Mould. Interesting videos about math and physics.
- StudioBinder. Filmmaking.
- TDC. Scientific topics.
- Teacher's Tech. Apps for teaching.
- Team O'Neil. About driving.
- TechGumbo. Productivity apps.
- Techlore. Security and privacy.
- Techmoan. An old audio technology.
- Technology Connections. Technology.
- Techquickie. Computers.
- TED. Short monolouges.
- TED-Ed. Short educational monolouges.
- The Economist. Politics.
- The Fast Lane Car. Cars.
- The Life-Sized City. The urban architecture.
- Timeline - World History Documentaries. History channel.
- Tom Scott. Popular technology and science.
- Uncharted Travel. Abandoned places.
- Veritasium. Technology and science.
- VOA Learning English. Short English lessons.
- Vox. Politics.
- Weird History. History channel.
- Write to Top. How to write in English.
Podcasts have a considerable advantage over videos because you can listen to them anywhere (e.g. commuting, having sports activity, lying on the bed, taking a shower). There are my favourite English podcasts. Don't forget to write a comment if you know some excellent podcasts too.
I can't recommend something here because of national differences. I am using Puzzle-Movies service, which is an excellent source for watching movies in English. It has subtitles in English and Russian, speed adjustment and assembles many films and TV-shows. But I can't recommend it for everyone simply because for non-Russians, this service would be useless.
There was my list of YouTube channels and podcasts. I hope it would be helpful and you can find something you like.
This article would be ready after finishing podcast section...