Using Podcasts and Audiobooks to Help Learn English | RPI College

Podcasts and audiobooks are a great tool that can help you with your English listening practice. However, they are also effective in helping you practice your English speaking with a technique called “shadowing”.


Shadowing is an imitation technique where one is imitating another speaker, or certain aspects and elements of someone else’s speech. A great way to practice shadowing is to read along with a narrator during a podcast or audiobook. Most podcasts and audiobooks have word-for-word transcripts that you can download.


After downloading the transcript, you can play the podcast or audiobook while reading along out loud. If you match the speed and accent of the speaker, this technique can be effective in helping improve your English intonation and pronunciation. It can also help you unconsciously improve other things in English such as rhythm, grammar, and vocabulary. If the audio or video is too fast for you, you can pause at the end of each line, or slow down the playback speed.


Here’s a list of resources you can use for shadowing:


- Podcasts with transcripts and/or subtitles

- Audiobooks with transcripts and/or subtitles

- YouTube clips with subtitles

- TED Talks with subtitles

- Movies with subtitles

- Television Shows with subtitles


If you are looking to improve your English, RPI College offers several General English courses for all proficiency levels including Elementary, Intermediate, and Advanced.


To determine what proficiency level you are at, we offer a brief placement test that you can complete to determine which of our English courses is a good starting point to match your current skill level.


To take the placement test, please click the following link: