4 Listening Resources For Literature Lovers

Mar 10, 2017 | podcast | 0 comments

Tell me, which do you prefer?


  • Reading an email from a colleague in English or talking on the phone with them?
  • Relaxing in the evening with a book in English or a film without subtitles?
  • Reading a blog post or listening to a podcast?


If you learned English by reading and writing, rather than speaking or listening, I can understand that you feel more comfortable reading.


And if you’re a fan of literature, it makes sense that you prefer reading to listening.


But if you want to better understand spoken English. So you can chat to native speakers or watch films or TV series more easily, you’ll need to put down that book and start listening.


The good news is, you don’t need to choose between reading and listening. You can combine your love of literature with your goal to better understand spoken English.


In this episode, you’ll discover 4 ways to read and listen at the same time.

Listening Practice Resources For Literature Lovers


As promised, here you’ll find all the links to the resources I mentioned in the podcast.




Why should you listen?

  • The English is slower than in conversation
  • You can read along as you listen. This will help you to link the written word with its spoken form.
  • You don’t necessarily need to sign up to a paid subscription like Audible because many audiobooks are free.

Where Can You Find Them?


On Soundcloud you can search for “audiobooks” in the search bar

How to look for audiobooks on Soundcloud

Otherwise, Penguin Books, a publishing house, uploads extracts from their audiobooks onto Soundcloud.


You can find 900 free audiobooks on Open Culture


Bookriot has compiled 11 websites where you can find free audiobooks.


Digitaltrends have made a list of 15 websites where you can get free audiobooks. Plus you can watch the video above the article for some extra listening practice.


Blinklist is an interesting app that allows you to listen to summaries of non-fiction books. You can get started with a trial and the free version of the app. The options are a bit limited in the free version though.


If you need help choosing an audiobook, my colleague Luciana has a set of questions you can ask yourself to help you pick one.


Podcasts About Literature


Why should you listen?


  • You can hear more “conversational” style English in interviews with authors
  • You can discover new books and new authors
  • You can learn more about a book before you start reading it (or listening to it of course)


British newspaper, the Guardian has its own Guardian Books podcast

The BBC has several shows across its different radio stations all about books.

The US-based National Public Radio also offers different programmes on literary themes such as interviews with authors, book reviews, recommendations, and people talking about their favourite books.


Poetry/Spoken Word


Why should you listen?


  • Poems are short and easy to digest
  • You can practice reading along
  • Poems can be easier to understand because the delivery is slower and more careful


The poetry resources I’ve found so far are


Poetry Out Loud Listen to famous actors and authors read poems aloud. You can find the written version of the poem on the site and open it in a new window to read as you listen. You could also trying doing a dictation exercise this way – listen to a line of the poem, write it out and compare with the original.


The Poetry Archive Poets recite their own poems with a short introduction and a reading. When you click on a poem, you are taken to a page with the text of the poem below. The disadvantage is you need to pay to download the poems. The poems are read faster than on the ‘Poetry Out Loud’ site.


British Council Learn English: Stories and Poems Listen to and read stories and poems created for English learners. They come with downloadable exercises.

Update: thanks to Conversations with Kate, I’ve discovered a new poetry resource, The Poetry Radio Project.




Why should you listen?


A blogcast is a new word that’s a mixture of “blog” and “podcast”. In a blogcast, writers of blog articles read aloud their blog post.


  • You can read along as you listen
  • It’s another way to enjoy the information in blog posts
  • They’re short and easy to digest – around 5 to 10 minutes
  • As blogcasters are reading aloud their blog posts, they speak more slowly and carefully than they would in a podcast

No excuses literature lovers – there are plenty of resources you can listen to that’ll satisfy your book-loving needs. Let me know in the comments – have you tried any of these resources? Did they work for you? Have you got any more resources to share with the Leo Listening Community?

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