Practice English Listening With These Interesting YouTube Videos
Have you tried using interesting YouTube videos to practice your English listening skills?
There are countless YouTube videos you could use to improve your listening skills in English, but we know the difficult part is finding the right ones.
So today we’re going to share a selection of fun YouTube videos and English worksheets we created around the videos to help you get your listening practice sessions started.
Let’s dive in!
INTERESTING YOUTUBE VIDEOS TO PRACTICE YOUR ENGLISH LISTENING SKILLS
Video & English Worksheet #1: Wild Hamster Has a Graveyard Feast
This cute little guy will melt your heart! The video is under three minutes, and it features language that’s perfect for A1 - A2 learners. So, if you’re looking for content suitable for an elementary or intermediate level in English, this video is for you.
Video & English Worksheet #2: Meet the Lawyer Who Defends Anonymous
Can you imagine a more interesting job than defending a hacktivist group? Here’s the story of an ordinary-looking guy with quite an unusual job.
If you’re a high intermediate or an advanced learner and looking for an interesting video to practice your listening skills, this is a good choice.
Video & English Worksheet #3 : The World's Weirdest Cemeteries
Cultures pay tribute to their dead differently, and you’ll be surprised with what you’ll find in some cemeteries.
This video is great for intermediate English learners, and it will walk you through some of the weirdest graveyards around the world.
Video & English Worksheet #4 : I Quit My Job to Travel
Have you ever dreamed about quitting your job to travel the world? This guy gave up a traditional life to give his dream a chance. What reasons could motivate such a life-changing decision? This is his story.
The video and the worksheet are perfect for learners who are at an intermediate level in English.
Video & English Worksheet #5 : Why Is Everyone Bad at Giving Gifts?
Everybody loves the excitement and the anticipation of receiving a gift. But what happens when you don’t like what you get? Unfortunately, that’s very common.
Not many people are good at giving gifts. So what can we do to get better? You’ll find out in this video.
The video and worksheet are suitable for English learners who are at a high-intermediate or advanced level.
How to Use Our English Worksheets
Complete the “Vocabulary” section before watching the video.
You will understand more of the video if you familiarize yourself with the vocabulary first. This will also help you retain what you’re learning. If you need to check your answers, we’ve provided the answers for the exercises on the last page.
Watch the video the first time without subtitles or the transcript.
If you always watch English videos with the subtitles, you’ll never give your listening skills a chance to improve. It’s okay if you don’t understand everything at first. You’ll notice a big improvement in a few weeks if you practice with these worksheets regularly.
Watch it a second with the transcript if needed.
We’ve provided the transcript for each video in every worksheet.
How to get the most out of our English worksheets
Study tip #1: Keep a journal or notebook
This will help you keep track of the new vocabulary you’re learning. You’ll also have notes that you can go back to whenever you want to refresh your memory.
Study tip #2: Look for keywords
Keywords are the content or stressed words we’ve mentioned before. They carry the meaning, and since they’re usually emphasized, you’ll spot them easily.
Most of the frustration stems from our attempt to understand every single word in the video, but that’s impractical and unrealistic.
You don’t need to understand everything that’s being said to understand the meaning or the message. On the contrary, focusing on understanding every single word will hinder your listening comprehension.
Have you ever noticed that when you’re so focused on understanding every word, and you miss one, you get blocked and you stop listening because you’re only thinking about that one word you missed?
Study tip #3: Practice the vocabulary we have chosen for you
You already know that the more vocabulary you learn, the more you’ll understand and the better your listening skills will be. But it’s also true that trying to learn too many words in one sitting may turn out to be unproductive.
When designing our worksheets, we carefully chose useful words and expressions that are commonly used in the real world. So focus on the words and expressions we’ve featured in the worksheets, and practice them until you have successfully incorporated them into your language.
Unless you come across words that are blocking your understanding of the video altogether, try to avoid looking up too many words from the video.
How to Improve Your English Listening skills
When I was at an intermediate level in English, there were many times when I felt that what I was hearing didn’t connect with the words I was reading on the transcript.
If you’re going through the same thing, I have some tips that will help you with this problem and improve your listening skills in English.
Consider the context
When we learn a new word, we sometimes play the audio to check how it’s pronounced.
That’s fine, of course, but it’s not enough. To have an accurate idea of how words are pronounced, we need to also hear them in context. That’s because the word might sound different when it’s in the middle of a sentence. For this reason, it’s important to get familiar with connected speech.
Words can sound different in context
You probably noticed that there’s a difference between how words sound in isolation as opposed to how they sound in context, and this is what makes listening challenging for English learners.
As with many languages, speakers take shortcuts in ordinary conversation.
Some of the processes that occur in spoken English will come naturally to you as you get more fluent. But that’s not always the case, so it’s important to get familiar with contractions and connected speech if you want to improve your English listening skills.
We’re not going to have a full lesson on phonetics, don’t worry. I’m just going to share with you some features of spoken language that are worth mentioning:
Listening tip #1: Get familiar with connected speech
Boundaries between words are not always clear-cut. Words are often linked together, especially when there’s a consonant at the end and a vowel at the beginning.
I sort of wanted to get out of there.
(You’d probably hear sorta.)
I kind of like him.
(In this case, it’d be kinda.)
At times you may feel as if a whole phrase is down to one long word. For example, “I don’t know” might sound like “I dunno.”
Listening tip #2: Learn the difference between content and function words
English has a system of content (stressed) and function (unstressed) words
What do I mean by that?
English has a rhythmic pattern where some words are stressed (we call those content words) whereas others are unstressed (called function words).
A function word expresses a grammatical or structural relationship with other words in a sentence. Some examples are: and, that, the, this, your, some, etc. Function words have little or no meaningful content.
Content words are words with specific meaning, such as nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs.
For more on function words, check out this video:
How to practice recognizing content and function words
Do you want a really good way to get used to noticing function words? As an exercise, follow one of the videos we’ve shared above while reading the transcript we’ve provided in the worksheet. Underline or circle the function words you hear while watching, and notice how they’re pronounced differently.
This leads me to an important point, content words are the ones that carry the meaning and hence, where you need to focus your attention.
Example: Have you ‘seen my ‘glasses?
Those two words (seen and glasses) carry the meaning of the question.
So to wrap up, keep these points in mind:
Do not expect individual words to sound exactly the same in isolation as in the context of a phrase. Try to focus on the bigger picture, which means beyond the word level.
Remember English is a stressed-timed language so you’ll find some words are strongly pronounced while others are unstressed or reduced. Focus on content words to grasp the general meaning of what you’re listening to.
We hope you find our recommendations useful! If you have any questions, leave us a comment. We’d love to hear from you.
About the Writer
Sol is an English teacher and a self-professed grammar geek. As a writer for In English With Love, her mission is to create content that will help encourage and inspire English learners.