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Listening Theme Page

This "Theme Page" has links to Internet audio resources that may be used by ESL students and teachers. Most of these use the RealAudio format and generally they will also have a link to a download site for the player. Some of the sites on this page are general in nature (e.g., news) while others are intended for an ESL audience. Please read our disclaimer.

Ask ERIC Lesson Plans: Language Arts: Listening
Below are links to four ERIC lesson plans on listening. They focus on helping students improve their general listening skills, for example by having them listen to and then follow instructions. While not intended for an ESL audience specifically, the lessons can be adapted.

BBC World Service - Learning English
A series of online courses which teach the language associated with a particular topic or skills (e.g., environment, computers, science, advocacy skills, telephone skills). Students read and listen to experts in the field as part of the course. Support resources for teachers include teaching notes on the courses, tips on using drama to teach English, and games. There are also links back to the main BBC site for RealAudio files.
This site gives teachers/students access to over 5,000 full length audio books, organized by category. Sound files can be downloaded for free. Note that your use of these files may be affected by the amount of sound that can be downloaded to your computer at one time.

[The] English Listening Lounge
About 30 audio passages of ordinary people talking about their lives. Selections are grouped into three categories from easy to hard.

English Pronunciation
Online lessons and practice activities in pronouncing English sounds that employ Macromedia's Shockwave audio files from Okanagan University College in British Columbia. Lessons generally consist of at least three activities. 1) Listening to a series of words that demonstrate the targeted sounds (e.g., CH and SH). 2) Listening to and then practicing a tongue twister sentence. 3) Listening to a dictated sentence, writing that sentence, and then getting feedback on that entry. A few of the units have a QuickTime movie showing how to pronounce the sound.

Interactive Listening Comprehension Practice
Online practice activities in which students follow five steps: predicting answers to questions based on an audio clip, listening to the clip, checking their answers, getting extra help for answers that were missed (by listening to the specific excerpt) and getting more information on the topic (e.g., listening to more information, going to web text-based information). Browsers must be Java enabled. Topics of the lessons are: Comets, Ukeleles, Hapatitis Outbreak, A Brave New World (cloning), James Earl Ray, and Future of the Internet.

Lesson Plan Data Base
Seven lesson plans for helping ESL students improve their listening skills from Brigham Young University.

Listening Exercises
The University of Stirling offers different types of activity in which to practice listening skills. Students select from logic puzzles. crossword puzzles, or treasure hunt and then listen to audio clues to help them reach a solution.

Listen to the News
A meta-list of links to news services that have audio.

National Public Radio
Listen to the latest news in RealAudio.

PBS Online
PBS has thousands of articles available in RealAudio format. The above link is to their home page. For current events, go to their News Hour Index - most of their articles in this section are available in audio format. Or, you can conduct a Search of their site for audio clips. Enter "RealAudio" as the search term and you'll receive over 7,000 hits. You can also use the multimedia search function to find audio files for particular topics.

Randall's ESL Cyber Listening Lab
Close to 100 listening activities organized by length (short/long) or topic (general/academic). Students listen to a sound file (.wav or RealAudio) and then answer questions about the dialogue they've heard.

Real Guide
This is a meta-list of links to sites on the Internet that have RealAudio files. Browse through the categories (e.g., stations, news, music, showbiz, sports, sci-tech, money) or use their search engine to find a topic that your students will be interested in.

TrackStar is an online interface which allows instructors to create lessons for students by sequencing existing instructional content in various web sites within a lesson. Students explore one topic at a particular location within one web site then move on to the next topic at another web site. The list of topics remains visible throughout the lesson so that students can remain on track. Explorations of the web sites beyond the designated instructional content are also possible.

This link is to their search page from where a keyword search on "listening and esl" will produce numerous hits. Caution #1: Many of the web sites that these lessons access may already be on this CLN page - it's the creation of lesson objectives and the sequencing of the tours through the sites that make the lesson potentially useful to your students. Caution #2: The quality of the lessons (e.g., definining objectives, finding web sites, sequencing the tours) will vary widely within the TrackStar collection.

[The] Weekly Idiom Index
This link is to an archive of English idioms. Each idiom has a brief dialogue showing the idiom and a .wav sound file of the dialogue.

Working in English
This site contains 30 short conversational dialogues on the themes of Finding a Job and Keeping A job. Students can listen to sentences within the dialog as many times as they wish. The web site is intended to accompany two textbooks but can also be used independently. Note: audio files are in .au format.

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Note: The sites listed above will provide resources for improving teaching and learning listending skills. For other resources in ESL (e.g., curricular content, lesson plans, and theme pages), click the "previous screen" button below. Or, click here if you wish to return directly to the CLN menu which will give you access to educational resources in all of our subjects.

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