Do you want to improve your English but dislike reading book after book? Are you an auditory learner in need of new English study tools? If so, we have the learning tool for you: ESL podcasts!
ESL podcasts take the familiar podcast format and focus on English topics such as grammar, pronunciation, slang, and more. Listening to an English podcast can be both edifying and entertaining. You will be less likely to get bored or discouraged with your English studies.
However, not all English podcasts are created equal. Some provide a fun, worthwhile experience over and over again, while others are simply not worth your time.
So, how can you find the right ESL podcast for your English level and learning style? Magoosh is here to help! We’ve analyzed dozens of English podcasts and compiled the top 12 ESL podcasts for English learners, arranged by the CEFR level.
5 ESL Podcasts for Beginners (Pre-A1, A1, and A2)
Those who are just starting out on their English journey have very different requirements than those who have been studying English for years. Fortunately, there are plenty of free resources out there for newcomers, including podcasts. Here are 4 of the best ESL podcasts for beginners:
Essential English - Beginners
The Essential English - Beginners podcast provides simple, easy-to-understand oral exercises. This American English podcast is the perfect place for brand-new English students, as it is specifically designed for pre-A1, A1, and A2 learners. It is accompanied by a free transcript, so you can see the text of every episode while listening to it.
English Short Stories for Beginners
For a more entertaining approach to English learning, check out the English Short Stories for Beginners podcast. This free English podcast includes 12 short stories. As an added bonus, the ESL podcast website for English Short Stories provides transcripts, vocabulary lists, and English exercises.
Learn English Podcasts
Learn English Podcasts is a free product of the British Council, an organization that helps create and promote educational opportunities around the world.
This series covers a wide range of topics and styles, from short stories to more formal language exercises. Learn English is one of the more versatile ESL podcasts, since it has lessons designed for both beginner and intermediate levels. Finally, you can also download the British Council podcast app to keep up with your studies on the go!
English Class 101
If you’re looking for thousands of free English podcast audios, English Class 101 has you covered. Each lesson is fun and easily-digestible, making English Class 101 a perfect choice for students who feel bored with traditional study materials.
While English Class 101 is free for listeners, you will need to pay a monthly subscription fee if you wish to access additional materials like flashcards and transcripts.
4 ESL Podcasts for Intermediate Speakers (B1 and B2)
At an intermediate English level (B1 or B2), you’ll likely need different resources. English podcasts for intermediate speakers cover more challenging topics (like news, science, or culture) and encourage listeners to engage with more complex vocabulary and grammar structures.
Here are 4 of the best ESL podcasts for intermediate speakers:
Voice of America: Learning English
Though Voice of America: Learning English has lessons for beginner, intermediate, and advanced students, it is best designed for those at the B1 or B2 levels.
Voice of America includes up-to-date news stories, short “English in a Minute” lessons, and even grammar exercises. All of the materials are available free of charge, making this one of the most accessible and useful ESL podcasts on the market.
Podcasts in English
Podcasts in English is perfect for intermediate students who wish to perfect their pronunciation. It is also helpful for English speakers who want to improve their English abilities in a business environment. While anyone can listen to the English lessons for free, Podcasts in English charges a monthly subscription to access additional English resources.
English as a Second Language Podcast
English as a Second Language Podcast (or ESLPod for short) supplies listeners with well over 1,000 podcasts covering topics from politics to family life, and everything in between. Many of these audio recordings focus on useful English for daily interactions, which is ideal for intermediate learners looking to improve their vocabulary and conversation abilities.
ESLPod even makes their lessons searchable by topic so that you can focus on stories and lessons that are interesting to you!
Better @ English
While many ESL podcasts focus on stories, lessons, or current events, Better @ English is all about real English conversations. Each episode features conversations about everyday topics, providing listeners with practical exposure to English. To help non-native speakers follow along, each episode also includes a full transcript.
4 ESL Podcasts for Advanced Speakers (C1 and C2)
If you’re an advanced English speaker in need of listening material, look no further! While some English learners may feel comfortable listening to podcasts designed for native English speakers, there are plenty of podcasts designed to meet the needs of C1 and C2 level students.
Here are 4 of the best English podcasts for advanced speakers:
BBC - 6 Minute English
The BBC has a wide variety of podcasts that cover everything from entertainment news to politics. However, 6 Minute English was specifically created to provide advanced English students with interesting stories in a short, entertaining format. Whether you want to learn about mental health in the workplace or the benefits of getting a tattoo, the BBC has an episode for you.
The Feel Good English Podcast
The creator of The Feel Good English Podcast takes a new and innovative approach to English learning. Rather than speaking about grammar or current events, The Feel Good English Podcast focuses on self-improvement.
It’s kind of like a life coach and English teacher rolled into one! So, if you’re looking to improve your English and become a better person at the same time, this is the perfect English podcast for you.
RealLife English Podcast
The RealLife English Podcast is ideal for listeners who want to get a taste of unscripted English conversations. This podcast features over 170 episodes on a wide range of topics, from Christmas movies to artificial intelligence. Episodes are generally accompanied by a written introduction and links to relevant articles and videos.
All Ears English Podcast
If you want an advanced level ESL podcast that’s all about learning English (as opposed to simply being immersed in English), then the All Ears English Podcast is a great choice for you.
The hosts discuss topics such as idioms, complex pronunciations, and tips for improving fluency. The All Ears English Podcast has over searchable 1,000 episodes in its archive, making it a treasure trove for advanced ESL students.
We hope you found this list of ESL podcasts helpful! If you’d like to learn more about how you can get one-on-one English tutoring personalized for your language learning needs, visit our Magoosh Speaking site today!