How to listen to the news

Listening is vital in daily communication. However, students seem to have different problems with listening and understanding the messages. In particular, listening to the current news has always been a challenge for most students. Here are some useful practical tips for teachers of English and their students to keep in mind while watching and/or listening to the news on TV or radio. So learn how to listen to the news and enjoy the process.

To succeed in listening to the news:

1. be focused and self-disciplined.

2. Remember that:

  • the news is delivered at high speed;

  • the topics of the news are changed quickly;

  • the vocabulary of the news is specific (various terms, notions, dates, figures);

  • grammar constructions (infinitive, gerund, passive voice, inversion) are difficult to differentiate and comprehend after first listening.

That’s why abstract yourself from the surrounding circumstances and be ready to perceive and comprehend a piece of the news. Listening for the detail requires your 100% presence.

3. Having read or heard the headline,


brainstorm any information relevant to the topic: try to remember what you know about the place where the event happened, the recent actions which took place in this region, the list of influential people (politicians, celebrities, members of the Royal family) that have been or were at the venue, their intentions and result of their visits etc.

4. Brainstorm the topical vocabulary on the topic of the news by making a list of 20-30 the most widespread and relevant words that you may hear in the message.

5. Practise repeating the brainstormed words to yourself aloud. Make a few partnerships with them. Remember that pronouncing words and word combinations aloud will prepare your ear for aural images composed while listening to the TV or radio presenter.

6. Choose 5-6 words on your list, practise reading and speed repeating them afterwards one by one without changing their order.

7. Predict the current news by analyzing what might happen in the place, what the TV or radio presenter is going to speak about. Make use of the generated vocabulary list while making your news predictions and assumptions.

If you need to do some exercises based on the contents of the news, keep in mind that:

8. While accomplishing the pre-listening activities, try to memorize the key words of the exercises, give detailed information on the questions related to the topic of the news.

9. Before doing pre-listening activities, scan all the instructions to the tasks and the tasks themselves in all three sections (pre-, while- and post-listening), highlighting key words and phrases, picking widespread synonyms of them.

10. Be ready for keeping in mind figures (dates, prices, time) abbreviations, proper and geographical names.

11. Draw mind maps with all the specific information you heard.


12. Listening to the news requires your thorough attention to the para linguistic means of communication the presenter uses. Learn how to be sensitive enough to do guess work and anticipate the sense of the message by the presenter’s emotions, gestures, intonation. To achieve this, while watching the news in the silent mode, practise predicting the content of the news, making conclusions by the short information given in the headlines, by analyzing the speaker’s manner of delivering the message.

13. In the while-listening exercise always keep track of all the figures (dates, prices, time) abbreviations, proper and geographical names. Correlate this information with the context.

14. Comprehending the news, pronounce the phrases of the message you hear silently to yourself. Repeating the words after the presenter is a successful way to develop your inner speech, understand the peculiar features of the speaker’s pronunciation, differentiate and recognize speech patterns, linking words.

Learn how to listen to the news and make use of the tips described in this article while listening to the news Check your understanding of the message by reading the script.

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