How to improve reading and listening at the same time – Part 1: Audiobooks and Podcasts

Studying using resources that improve my reading and listening at the same time is my favorite way to learn. You get two skills at the same time and one helps to improve the other. Sometimes you heard a word, you know what it means, but you can’t write. And then, you look this word as you hear in context and this helps to memorize. The reverse is also common, you know a word you’re reading, you know the meaning, but never heard. When you hear it, you discover the correct pronunciation and memorize easier.

Therefore, using this method is ideal since the beginning of learning process, mainly to avoid bad pronunciation vices, which are later difficult to be corrected.

This is one of the main reasons why I like to use Assimil. However, the Assimil course don’t need to be your only resource, as well as reading you can use alternative methods.

In the first part of this post I will talk about two easy ways of finding material; in the second I will explain how I do my own material that helps me a lot.

Audiobooks

Nowadays audiobooks have become quite common and you can find on various subjects and fictions. Just as books are a great option to improve reading, audiobooks help to improve reading and listening at the same time. Tips for choosing an audio book are the same for choosing a book: Choose an author/book that pleases you, give preference to books you’ve read in your native language and listen to the audio several times.

Note: Before you buy an audio book, always check if the voice is human, never buy one that isn’t. And, give preference to professional audio with actors that have better pronunciation and audio quality.

These sites have free audio books:

Librophile – In English
Books Should Be Free – In English
Gutenberg Project – In Several Languages
Learn Out Loud – In English
Audiocite – In French
Bibliboom – In French
Alba Learning – In Spanish
Leer Escuchando – In Spanish
Planeta Libro – In Spanish

Podcasts

The use of podcasts is interesting for the great variety of subjects and naturalness of dialogues. Most podcasts unfortunately do not offer transcripts. In this case, the option is to choose podcasts that teach the target language; almost all offer transcripts in paid versions. However, pushy people can find podcasts with transcripts for free in the target language.

http://cvc.cervantes.es/ensenanza/ese/default.htm – In Spanish
http://www.spanishpodcast.org/ – In Spanish
http://www.avueltasconele.com/category/podcast/ – In Spanish
http://www.french-podcasts.com/ – In French
http://www.thefrenchpodcast.com/ – In French

About Nathalia

Polyglot Nerd creator, love foreign cultures and learning languages. Speak: English, Portuguese and Spanish. Learning: French
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