YouTube video

Links for English Listening Practice:

Difficulty understanding spoken English?

How to improve your English listening Espresso English

Photo: David Castillo Dominici,

If you have difficulties in listening, you’re not alone – this is one of the most common problems for English learners.

It’s frustrating and embarrassing when you can’t understand spoken English – but in this lesson, I’m going to explain why it’s so difficult and teach you how to improve.

Listening to English and successfully understanding it is difficult for 3 reasons:

#1 – Many English words are pronounced differently from their written form.

We have words with silent letters like thought (silent GH), island (silent S), and muscle (silent C and silent E). Also, many letters can be pronounced in different ways, like the A in apple, father, and game.

#2 – When native speakers talk fast, we “link” the words together.

Native speakers often “connect” the words when speaking fast; we don’t pronounce every individual word clearly.

“How are you feeling today?”
Sounds like: “Howrya feelin’ today?”

“I’m going to have lunch.”
Sounds like: “I’m gonnahav lunch.”

This “linking” happens in all spoken English sentences – and it’s one BIG reason that it’s so difficult to understand.

#3 – Too little practice.

Most students read too much and don’t listen to enough English – but remember that babies and young children learn English by listening FIRST and reading later – so English listening practice is essential!

OK, now that you know WHY listening is difficult, here is HOW to improve it. There are two ways: practicing every day and practicing the RIGHT way.

English Listening Tip #1 – Practice Every Day

Create the habit of listening to English for 15 minutes daily. Even if you’re busy and you don’t have much time, you can listen while

  • Driving to work or school
  • Taking public transportation
  • Exercising
  • Doing housework

What should you listen to?

Here are 3 sites with great audio (and accompanying text):

English Listening Tip #2 – Practice the Right Way

The second tip for improving your listening is to practice listening the RIGHT way.

What does this mean? Well, there is a “right way” and a “wrong way” to practice English listening.

The WRONG way to do English listening practice:

  • Try to listen once
  • You don’t understand every word and you get frustrated
  • Give up and stop practicing after the first try

To do English listening practice the RIGHT way, the first step is to relax and know that it’s completely normal to have limited understanding the first time you listen.

Effective English Listening Practice:

  • Listen the first time for the general topics. Don’t try to understand every word; just try to understand the main ideas.
  • Listen again and now try to understand some more specific details. Again, remember that it’s OK not to catch every word.
  • Listen the third time while reading the transcript (text). Now you can pay attention to the individual words and see if your previous understanding was correct.

This type of listening – from more general to more specific – is the most effective way to practice and improve your English listening ability.

If you want to improve fast, the English Listening Course will help you train your listening effectively.

How to improve your English listening Espresso English

This course uses a structured process of listening exercises – it’s the same process I use with my private students:

How to improve your English listening Espresso English

  • Before the listening, I’ll pre-teach you some key vocabulary, so that you won’t be completely “lost” when you hear new words.
  • Listen the first time for the general idea only.
  • Listen again, now trying to understand the specific ideas.
  • Listen again, now trying to get specific words.
  • Finally, you can listen a last time with a transcript – so you can clear up any doubts and understand 100%.


This method is helpful because it helps you make step-by-step progress towards understanding EVERY word.

In addition:

  • Recordings will be available at both slow AND fast speeds, making this course perfect for learners at any level of English. You can listen to the slow recordings to help boost your confidence, and to the fast recordings for an extra challenge.
  • All the topics are completely new – they are on subjects I have never before covered in Espresso English lessons or courses – so you’ll learn a lot of new vocabulary, too!

English Listening Course Information

How to improve your English listening Espresso English 45 lessons with text and audio

How to improve your English listening Espresso English Slow and fast audios available

How to improve your English listening Espresso English You get permanent access to the lessons online & you can download them, too.


English Listening Course

45 Lessons – $45

How to improve your English listening Espresso English
How to improve your English listening Espresso English