This “The Best…” list was initially a difficult one for me to compile. A number of my previous lists, including the ones on reading and conversation, can also be characterized as “listening.”
I finally decided on the following criteria for sites that would appear on this list. They would need need to:
… be free.
… be accessible to English Language Learners.
… let English Language Learners listen to pretty much anything they would either write or anything they could find on the Internet, OR
… have a wide range of listening options that would be combined with comprehension assessments.
I’m not listing these sites in order of preference, as I’ve done with a majority of my previous “The Best…” lists. Instead, I’m just dividing the list into the two categories that I’ve shared in my criteria.
Also, check out The Best Sites For ELLs To Practice Online Dictation.
Here are my choices for The Best Listening Sites For English Language Learners:
SITES THAT LET USERS LISTEN TO ANYTHING THEY WRITE OR FIND ON THE INTERNET
Read The Words lets you convert any text – from a document, blog, or website – into audio with your choice from a variety of voices. You can then embed the voice player into your site. English Language Learners can easily copy and paste an essay they’re writing to hear if it sounds “right.”
SITES THAT HAVE A WIDE-RANGE OF LISTENING OPTIONS COMBINED WITH ASSESSMENTS
This section of sites itself is divided in two — first, I’ll share excellent resources that offer specific listening exercises that are then generally followed by questions to measure comprehension; then, I’ll share links to sites that provide online dictation activities.
ELLO provides hundreds of listening activities that are well-designed and engaging. Randall’s ESL Cyber Listening Lab does the same — it has great activities, though I just don’t think it’s as user-friendly as ELLO.
Now I’d like to list some excellent online dictation sites, where student listen to audio and have to type what they hear:
Listen and Write is a new web tool that I think has a lot of potential for English Language Learners. A user first chooses a text he/she wants to hear read to him/her. Many of the choices are from the Voice of America, and are both high-interest and accessible. Their levels of difficulty are also indicated. Then the story is dictated to you, and you have to type it correctly. You can choose the speed of the reading and how often it’s repeated. When you type, only the correct letters actually show-up on the screen, and you can ask for hints.
The English Club has a series of simple and effective dictation exercises. They’re well organized, simple, don’t require registration, and have ones for a variety of English levels.
English Speak has 100 listening lessons (framed as dialogues) that give you two different speeds in which to listen to them.
Many English Language Learner teachers and students are familiar with Randall’s ESL Cyber Listening Lab. It’s provided high-quality listening exercises on the web for a longtime. It’s now gotten even better with the addition of videos. Video Snapshots for ESL/EFL Students show short video clips along with comprehension quizzes for students to take.
David Deubelbeiss has posted a very good document for ESL/EFL teachers sharing ideas for listening activities to do in the classroom. Even thought it’s for teachers, it’s so good that I’m adding it to this list.
Quizlet is on The Best Tools To Make Online Flashcards list. They’ve just added the great ability to have users listen to a word and then have to spell it.
Listen A Minute is another great site by Sean Banville.
The importance of active listening and how to do this in an EFL classroom is a useful #ELT Chat summary from Twitter.
The British Council shares a number of good listening activities to do in class.
Nathan Hall has a great collection of ELT Listening Material.
Using Online Resources for Listening and Speaking in the Classroom #ELTchat Summary 23/09/2015: #ELTc… http://t.co/cTjJBRlVEe #eltchat
— MarisaConstantinides (@Marisa_C) September 26, 2015
Balanced Listening Instruction is from TESOL and is one of the most useful pieces on listening for ELLs that I’ve seen.
Listening activities that work: https://t.co/sRgn7haXLw Can you add any more to this list? #ESL #EFL #TESOL pic.twitter.com/eqAsjbs41u
— TeachingEnglish (@TeachingEnglish) March 2, 2016
Not recent, but still relevant! Download this ebook on teaching #listening now: https://t.co/tr2KAaBZJK #ESL#TESOL pic.twitter.com/cx49MX7Rki
— TeachingEnglish (@TeachingEnglish) March 1, 2016
Elementary Podcasts are from The British Council. There are tons of English-learning podcasts out there, but this one stands out because each one includes web-based interactive exercises. I’m not aware of any other one like it – am I missing them?
I’ve posted a lot about StoryCorps resources. I just now learned that, in addition to the wonderful short audio stories they provide on their site and on radio, each one now has an audio transcript that can be viewed on line or printed-out. Just click on the audio story you want and when it brings you to its own webpage, you’ll then see the option “Read The Transcript.”
25 ideas for using audio scripts in the ELT classroom is from the English Language Teaching Global Blog.
Study Supports What ELL Teachers Have Been Saying For Years – Surround Yourself With New Language
How to use the internet to improve your listening skills is from Dynamite ESL.
5 great zero preparation lesson ideas is by Steve Smith and shares good listening activities.
10 Best Free Listening Websites with Quizzes to Practise for Listening Exams is from Blog de Cristina.
StoryCorps Begins Weekly Video Series That Would Be Excellent For ELLs
Eight listening-research findings every teacher should be aware of and their implications for teaching and learning is by Gianfranco Conti.
StoryCorps Unveils Searchable Archive Of 400,000 Interviews
Using graphic organizers as scaffolds while listening is from Cambridge University Press.
Developing listening skills with storytelling is from Oxford University Press.
Listening and Speaking With Digital Assistants is from TESOL.
12 LISTENING ACTIVITIES FOR ESL STUDENTS is from English Teaching 101.
Ten activities to practise listening fluency in the English classroom is from The British Council.
My latest Tech Crush: Fluentkey. An Interactive Listening Competitive Game is from Blog de Cristina.
Here are a number of listening activities created by Cristina Cabal.
123 Listening has lots of listening activities.
Graphic: The effectiveness of second-language listening strategy instruction #TESOL #EFL #ESL https://t.co/5Y4unuqr1Y
— American TESOL, Teach English Abroad (@americantesol) April 15, 2023
Feedback and other suggestions are always welcome.
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This is great. I’ve been wanting to try websites that convert text into audio and hadn’t had the time to follow up on one of your suggestions (I think it was Voz Me) at CATESOL.
A friend who works for the federal government in Washington D.C. was asking me a few months ago if there were any websites that convert text into spoken audio so I will surely pass this info on.
Thanks very much !!!
Thanks for posting this list.
A student of mine has recently asked me how he could improve his listening skills.
Your list has just come in handy!
In fact, I love your lists!
Keep it up!
Doris ( Brazil)
Your resources and recommendations are INVALUABLE for teachers and learners. Thank you so much for not only the links, but the reviews which I find very helpful. These saves me time and helps me get the resources to my specialists much quicker. You are an essential part of my PLN!
A great list.
I’ve been looking for websites that offer quality listening materials for along time. Now I have a long list.
So many thanks!!!
I would also recommend to take a look at http://elllo.org and http://english-player.com
There’s also http://www.listenaminute.com/ with its 411 9-page handouts, online quizzes and mp3s 🙂
Thank you so much for compiling this amazing list Larry. I have bookmarked it and will share it around. I was very excited to see EnglishClub’s dictations here. There is also a new Podcast section that has listening for English learners, including Chinese and Western zodiac listening exercises that focus on adjectives of personality.http://edition.englishclub.com/category/podcasts/ Our This Week in History now features quizzes and audio for all 52 weeks: http://www.englishclub.com/this-week-in-history/index.php.
I also do a Wednesday mini-podcast for ESL-Library that is free and available on iTunes. Yesterday was our 81st episode. Teachers assign these for extra listening or for a preview to the lesson which is available for subscribers.
Anyway, thanks again for keeping this all together. I’m following you closely on Google +.
These are great! I’ll be adding them to multiple “The Best” lists. Thanks.
This is an interesting news site I found that is designed for ESL students. It has news clips spoken in slow, easy to understand English with transcripts. I use it to teach my intermediate classes.
There is even popup phrase translation for Japanese.
You have some good resources on your site. Keep up the good work!
One of the best tools for learning a new language is Text Speaker. It has customizable pronunciation, reads anything on your screen, or reads almost any file type. The bundled voices are well priced and sound very human.t Voices are available in English, French, Italian, Spanish, German, and more. Easily converts blogs, email, e-books, and more to MP3 or for listening instantly.
Hi, my site ‘The Full English Experience’: http://fullenglishexperience.com/ would be right up your street. It has audio articles, transcripts and comprehension questions that make for great English listening practice.
There are crosswords, quizzes and all sorts on the site. If you just want to hear the podcast, it’s here: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/the-full-english-experience/id1268349176?mt=2&ls=1
I hope you’ll consider adding it to your list
One excellent text to speech tool – “Text Speaker” app. I use it to listen to my school guides for learning languages.There is an option to correct and improve the pronunciation of words. This helps me to learn the languages properly. helped me a lot. You can try this.
Kindly consider Self-Assessed Online Listening Tests at https://www.wecwi.com/post/self-assessed-online-listening-tests