Audiobooks: The Underrated English Learning Tool

By Scott Carpenter

As we all know, free audiobooks and ebooks are great for entertainment, but one of the most underrated uses of these free resources is language learning. Picking up a new language is always tough, but the English language is particularly troublesome for English as a second language students. Our strange grammar rules and seemingly incomprehensible spelling rules can throw even the most seasoned veteran for a loop.

I am a graduate English literature student with many years of intensive study under my belt and I still struggle with these aspects of the English language on a regular basis. I also work in international education and work with students who are applying to U.S. universities from abroad and one of the major barriers holding them back from furthering their studies within the U.S. is the strict English proficiency requirement that many schools enforce.

Students must test high in areas such as reading, speaking, and writing in English. I see students every day who are studying English and are worried that they will not score high enough on English exams to be admitted to the universities they have traveled so far to attend. It is important for students who are studying English as a second language to get as much practice with the language outside of their classrooms as they can, and one way that can greatly increase a student’s comprehension of the English language is to listen to an audiobook being narrated to them while following along by either reading the same ebook or checking out the novel through their local library. Being able to see the words on the page and listen to their pronunciation at the same time is invaluable.

It is very important for students studying English to hear the English language spoken properly in order for them to make the contextual connections necessary to gain a full understanding of what is being spoken or read. Trying to just read a book by itself can be confusing as students struggle to sound out the word correctly and just being able to hear the words being read to them can help to eliminate the fears that they may be pronouncing the word incorrectly and increase their confidence in using the language properly. Listening to audiobooks while reading along can greatly increase a student’s vocabulary and comprehension thus allowing them to unlock their growing potential to fully grasp the English language.

Below I have listed a few audiobooks that can be found on this site that I believe would work well for anyone who is looking to increase their English language skills.

1)      The Curious Case of Benjamin Button by F. Scott Fitzgerald

2)      Grimm’s Fairy Tales by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm

3)      The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

4)      12 Creepy Tales by Edgar Allan Poe

5)      The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving

6)      A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

7)      The Picture of Dorian Grey by Oscar Wilde

8)      The Turn of the Screw by Henry James

9)      White Fang by Jack London

10)   The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins

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