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Listening doesn’t have to be difficult and it doesn’t need to give you a headache.
It’s hard to understand native speakers, however, because natural spoken English is very different from the spoken English that you learned in school.
What if I told you that there was a way to listen to native speakers anywhere, anytime? What if I told you that you can listen to native speakers in the car, or on the train on your way to work, while you’re doing housework, while you’re making dinner, or while you’re exercising, and you can do it with your phone?
And that it doesn’t feel like studying, because you’re listening to something interesting. You’re learning, and you don’t even know you’re learning.
You can do this with audiobooks.
The prefix audio means sound or hearing. When the prefix audio is added to book, it means a book that you can hear or a book that you can listen to. An audiobook is a recording of someone reading a book. It’s a digital file that you can store on your computer, tablet or phone and listen to it anywhere.
Why should I care about audiobooks?
If you want to improve your spoken English and improve your listening skills, you need to listen to native speakers. You need to get used to the sound and rhythm of English. You need to do a lot of listening, not just once a week in your English class. You need to listen to English all the time.
You can do that with an audiobook.
Where can I find these awesome audiobooks?
Audiobooks are becoming more popular now. My local library allows people to borrow ebooks for free to listen to at home. I can download it from the library website and listen to it on my computer.
There is also a well-known online company called Audible.com. It’s owned by Amazon, so you can easily find audiobooks on Amazon.
Amazon owns both Kindle ebooks and Audible audiobooks, and has joined the two services together. For many books you can buy both the Kindle and Audible forms, and listen to and read the book at the same time using Amazon’s Whispersync for Voice service.
Learn more: Immersion Reading
What’s so great about Audible?
It’s convenient. Audible audiobooks are readily available all over the world on Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, Amazon.com.au, Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.de, Amazon.fr, Amazon.it, and Amazon.co.jp.
When you join Audible.com, you can choose from 180,000+ books! It’s like shopping in a bookstore, except the book are audiobooks and they’re online.
The person reading each book is called a narrator. The narrators on Audible.com are the best of the best, including popular actors and actresses. You can listen to celebrities and politicians read their own books! For example, you can listen to Hilary Clinton read her book What Happened, or actress Rachel McAdams read the classic Canadian novel Anne of Green Gables. Are you a fan of the TV show The Handmaid’s Tale? You can listen to Claire Danes read the book. You can listen to actor Johnny Depp read the autobiography of Keith Richards, the guitarist from the band The Rolling Stones.
You get two free audiobooks during your first month. What? Yes, you read that correctly. Your first month is free when you and you get two free audiobooks.
In the Audible app, you can also change the speed of the audiobook, and make it a little slower. That’s a bonus!
How do I join Audible?
Step 1: You need an Amazon account. All the links here in this lesson are for Amazon.com, but you can look for Audible in the Amazon international store in your country.
Step 2: Sign up for a free trial! Audible let’s you try its service free for one month. During your free trial month, you can download 2 free audiobooks.
If you are already an Amazon Prime member, you get an even better deal! You can sign up for a 3-month free trial and get 3 free Audible audiobooks.
Step 3: Download the Audible app for your phone, tablet, or computer. Find your app here.
Step 4: Choose your 2 free audiobooks. There’s an entire section on Amazon of audiobooks. You can see the Audible store here.
Two of the books series I recommended in my lesson on how to improve your English by reading children’s books series are also available as audiobooks!
If you are at a high level of English, you might enjoy some of these books:
Step 5: Get a new audiobook each month. Audible is a membership service. You pay $14.95 each month after your free trial, and you get one monthly credit for any audiobook + 30% off other audiobooks. You can cancel your membership at any time and keep all the audiobooks that you downloaded.
What if I don’t live in the US?
All the links here are for Amazon.com, but Audible audiobooks are also available on Amazon in Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, and Japan.
Have you ever listened to an audiobook? Tell me in the comments below!