A podcast is a broadcast audio recording – a radio show that you can play on your smartphone, tablet, or computer any time you want. There are more than 100,000 podcasts, about all kinds of topics. Most podcasts are released on a regular basis – for example, one new episode every week. If you find a podcast that you like, you can “Subscribe” to it, so that you can receive new episodes when they are available.
There are MANY podcasts to help you learn English. One is called the “VOA Learning English Broadcast” from Voice of America, which has a new 30-minute episode every day. They speak more slowly, and have news and stories.
On your iPhone/iPad, you can play using your Podcast App (which comes installed on your iPhone/iPad). Open the app, and search for VOA Learning English Broadcast. There are other free apps you can install from the App Store to manage your podcasts – such as Overcast.
On an Android smartphone, you can play podcasts using the Google Play Music app (which usually comes installed). Here’s a video with more information about how to use podcasts with the Google Play Music app. There are other free apps you can install from the Google Play Store to manage your podcasts – such as Google Podcasts and Podcast Addict.
Below is a video with more information about how to use podcasts on your iPhone…
- In honor of Memorial Day – all weekend, until Monday night, you can visit the Boston Common – at the Soldiers and Sailors Monument – to see a display of 37,000 American flags – one for each person from Massachusetts who has been in the military and given their lives to defend the United States, and our freedom.
- On Monday, May 27th, you can visit the Boston Museum of Fine Arts (MFA) for free (it usually costs $25). There will also be many special activities and tours that day. The museum is large and impressive. You can spend hours there walking around.
- There’s also free admission on Monday May 27th (10am-5pm) at the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) in Boston. At the ICA, they also offer some free tickets for a Water Shuttle boat ride across the harbor to their small extra museum in East Boston. –
- Lots of Memorial Day parades, including Newton (Sunday), and Sudbury (Monday)
- Large Boston Calling Music Festival at Harvard Stadium
- Spring Festival in Newburyport Sunday May 26th from Noon to 6
- Plus, there are always the many regular family-friendly places in Boston, such as the swan boats at the Public Garden, other museums such as the Children’s Museum, Aquarium, and Museum of Science.
- And more ideas from the Boston Globe and Boston Discovery Guide
Children’s books are shorter and easier to understand. They’re really good practice for someone learning English. Reading to a child can help you with:
- Vocabulary – learn new words
- Comprehension – better understanding when you read
And – you will learn faster when you use English for something you enjoy. (It’s really good for your child too!)
You can read along with this book by Dr. Seuss called One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish.
Reading books and listening to audiobooks is an excellent and enjoyable way to improve your English. Did you know that you can borrow eBooks and audiobooks (with thousands of choices) – for free – right on your phone or tablet? All you need is a library card from your local library, and the new Libby app from OverDrive.
If you live in Massachusetts, you don’t even need to visit the library to get a card. You can get a free eCard from the Boston Public Library.
After you enter your library card number in the app, you can borrow ebooks or audiobooks. There are also some “Read Along” books (mostly kids’ books) that you can listen to while you read.
Humans of New York is a website, and Facebook page, that has lots of interesting pictures of people – and a very short story about them. Brandon (the publisher) started with pictures and short stories just about people in New York City. But then he started including personal stories from people in other places around the world – such as Pakistan, Iran, India, Vietnam – and some longer stories on subjects such as refugees and people in prison. The latest set of stories is about people in Brazil. Here is an example:
“He fell in love with me the first day he met me. He kept calling me princess. He said we were meant to be together because our feet were the same size. Look how embarrassed he’s getting!” (São Paulo, Brazil)
— Thanks to Pat for suggesting this website. She uses it for reading practice in her English class. —
If you have kids out of school this week, or just have extra time for yourself, here are some places to go – to see more of Boston and MetroWest, have some family fun, and practice your English:
- Swan Boats at the Boston Public Garden
Now open for the season
GPS: 4 Charles Street, Boston
- Watch the Runners in the Boston Marathon – Monday April 15
It starts in Hopkinton and goes through MetroWest along Rt. 135
- Patriots Day Activities – Monday, April 15
- Spring Carnival – Pinefield Shopping Center, Framingham
Thursday-Sunday April 18-21, Rides, Games, Food
- Garden in the Woods – Now open for the season
GPS: 180 Hemenway Rd, Framingham
- Danforth Art Museum – Now re-opened in Framingham Center
Free open house – Sunday, April 14th Noon to 4pm
GPS: 14 Vernon St. Framingham
- Vacation Week Activities at these museums:
- Boston Museum of Fine Arts
Story Telling, Art projects, more
- Boston Children’s Museum
Special Story Telling events April 16-20
- Franklin Park Zoo
Special talks with the zookeepers April 15-19
- Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston
Special activities April 16-19
- Discovery Museum in Acton
Special activities, including Tinytropolis April 15-20
- Animal Adventures in Bolton
- Ecotarium in Worcester
- Boston Museum of Fine Arts
- Cambridge Science Festival – Now through April 21
250 events – in Cambridge, and around Boston
- Big Apple Circus – now through May 5th
At the North Shore Mall in Peabody
GPS: 210 Andover Street, Peabody
- Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston
Special day for visitors named Isabella on Wed. April 17th. (It’s free for Isabellas every day)
Take a virtual tour of the museum
GPS: 25 Evans Way, Boston
- Society of Arts & Crafts
Small, free museum in new home at …
GPS: 100 Pier 4 Boulevard, Seaport area of Boston (next to Ocean Prime restaurant)
- Rotary Club Craft Fair – Sat. April 20th from 10-4
At Keefe Tech High School in Framingham
More than 100 crafters
- Lots more to find on…
If you don’t know how to pronounce someone’s name, or you have difficulty repeating their name, here is some help.
One good place to listen to the common pronunciation of many names is YouGlish.
- Type in the name (first name or last name)
- Choose “US” to see only videos using American English
- Below the video, you can change the speed to “slower”, to listen more carefully
- Listen to the name pronounced as part of several videos
Try to pronounce these names by yourself, and then try them in YouGlish, above:
Elijah, Genevieve, Zachariah, Reynolds, Holmes
Finally, if you would just like to hear the pronunciation of a lot of common names, you can try these:
- books to borrow and read – to yourself or your kids
- music and movies
- videos on learning English
- and so many more free resources
Beginning on Tuesday, April 9th, there will also be a Bookmobile, that will bring a piece of the library to neighborhoods, schools, and other places all around the city. On Tuesday morning at 8:30 in front of the Memorial Building (City Hall), there will be a little celebration for the bookmobile’s first day, with some snacks until 10:00. Later that day, the fist places that the bookmobile will visit will be:
- Woodrow Wilson School
- Brookdale Senior Community
- Carmel Terrace Senior Community
- Framingham YMCA