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Learning to listen to English-FITA Lesson 2

Watch this lesson.

Listening to English, even before reading or writing, is key to achieving an advanced level of English. That’s why this course is based on listening to English.

So let’s get more specific about what listening means and how to listen.

There are two ways of listening to a foreign language:

  • Paying a lot of attention to details. As your capacity to pay attention is limited – especially if your English level is not too high – you can only do this for a limited amount of time: 1, 2, or 5 minutes maximum. This is called Active Listening.
  • Letting the language flow into your ears without paying attention to details. This is what you do naturally almost all the time. This is called Passive Listening.

Listening will help you pronounce and speak correctly. But how should you do it correctly and effectively?


These are the steps you should follow to increase your level of English through listening:

1) When you start listening, begin by listening carefully for ONLY 1 to 3 minutes

The rest of the time you don’t need to pay so much attention. Just let the language flow into your ears.

Listening carefully means trying to memorise and learn the structures that you are listening to.

For example: If you listen to this paragraph:

“The studio was filled with the intense smell of roses, and when the gentle summer wind moved through the trees in the garden, the strong essence of lilac entered the room.”

You should listen to the same paragraph over and over again until all the sounds and structures become familiar.

Let’s see how you should memorise the sounds and the structures:

-The studio was filled- Sounds something like this “dé sstúdio wuáss fild”.  Listen to it and think about the sounds you’ve heard.

It is NOT “de estudio wuas filEd”. This is what you say when you are not really paying attention to what you’re listening to.

As I said in Lesson 1, the mind is like a runaway horse; when you listen to this paragraph you will automatically hear the sounds that your “Spanish mind” tells you to hear unless you do it slowly, PAY MORE ATTENTION and repeat the sentence several times.

2) You have to learn to make the new sentences yours

This means that you’ll repeat them so often they won’t sound unfamiliar anymore.

Becoming familiar with a sentence means that the sentence sounds natural to you and you can visualise the situation in the same way you do it in Spanish when someone says something to you.

So when you hear, The studio was filled with the intense smell of roses”, you actually see the studio and you smell the roses.

To get to this degree of familiarity with the sentences, you should listen and repeat aloud what you have just heard one, two, three or a hundred times.

3) First, listen two or three times to the recording, then read the transcript

Reading without listening can be very dangerous for your pronunciation. That’s why it’s important to ALWAYS listen first.

The more you can listen without reading, the better.

Think about the following fact:

Children spend almost 5 or 6 years of their life listening and speaking their own language before they start learning to read. That’s why they never make pronunciation mistakes.

If you had done the same in English when you were a child, you wouldn’t make any pronunciation mistakes now.

So remember that it is very important to listen to English without reading at the beginning.

4) Pay close attention to the differences between the spelling and the sound when you read the transcript

Most of the problems related to listening and speaking have to do with not concentrating on the difference between the spelling and the sound of the word.

So if you read:

  • In the middle of the room, on an easel-

You should listen carefully to the sound of each word:

  • middle /ˈmɪdl/
  • room /rʊm/

(closing your lips to say the letter “m” at the end)

  • easel /ˈiːzl/ the “s” is pronounced with certain vibration. That’s why in phonetics is represented by a “z”. It’s not: /esel/

And to the sound of the entire sentence as a whole.

  • In the middle of the room, on an easel- sounds something like this: /in the mídl óf dé rúm, ón ánissel

What to listen to

This course is based on listening to a graded bilingual audiobook called “The Picture of Dorian Gray”. We’ll go into detail on how to listen to it in the following lessons.

However, this is NOT the only material I want you to listen to during this course.

You can listen to all the English you want any time and any place.

Please, use your mobile phone, tablet, computer, television, radio,  or any other similar devices to listen to as much English as you can all throughout the day.

Take a look at the table below which contains  recordings of different levels and degrees of difficulty.

You should move between these levels.

First Month


Beginner/Low Int.

Inter-Upper Int.



The Three bears  

Family Relationships

Personal Information


Heavenly pies restaurant

Answering machine

A Fun day

Getting around Tokyo

A free cell phone

Assisted living

Car accidents

A University degree


Anna’s story

Min’s story 

Hue Le’s story 

Ying Jie’s story

The Lost Art of Witch Hunting

Annie and Jasmine

News Australia

Kangaroo Analysis

The Monk who sold his Ferrari (listen to one chapter every Tuesday)


ESL Short listenings 1

Where do you come from?


Listening comprehension 

Bad weather

Legal Highs News Report
The Nature of Myths 

 Nature clean and fresh
Comparing information delivery
Food supply vs. deforestation
Space Exploration 


Verb to enjoy

The Alphabet

Visit in the country

Phone call from Radio D

Choose one exercise every Thursday

Lawsuit Financing
Car Repairs
Scientists solve mystery


Going to the zoo 
Not all carrots are orange 
Looking for work

Choose one episode from the list every Friday

Dating Woes
Housing Complaints
Personal Health Problems


Listen to 5 minutes every Saturday

You have changed
Sports Roundup
Haybridge Hall
Parent Teacher meeting

Could we actually live in Mars?
What is dust made of?
Who was the real Christopher Columbus?
Can you solve the Ragnarok riddle?


A day at the office
My favourite restaurant
A letter to a friend


Choose one lesson every Sunday

Street Market
Taxi Ride
Professional babysitting
The Ideal Woman


Note: Remember to listen very carefully for only a few minutes at the beginning. Try to remember the sounds, structures and meaning.


Second Month



Beginner/Low Int.

Inter-Upper Int.



Hanna’s story 

Sara’s story 

Victor’s story

Newaz’s sotry

Interview with Peter- British accent

Apartment for rent

Daily Schedule

Hotel reservations

Big brother is watching you (Listen one chapter every Monday)


20 questions


Favourite Fruit


One exercise of this list each Tuesday

One listening of this list each Tuesday


Dawn’s family

Nancy’s schedule 

Stephanie’s likes and dislikes

Flag Football

A Trip To Italy

European Attitudes Towards Smoking

Playing tennis tournaments 

Problems with British universities 

Choose one recording from the list

Listening 1 CPE

Listening 2 CPE

Listening 1 CAE


Listen episode 1

Listen episode 2

Listen episode 3

Listen episode 4

Problems with my English

Avatar Congo 
Black Saturday 



 Shwan’s story

 Fresh water dolphins

Rafa Nadal

Save the planet and yourself

Flower Power
True or false 1
True or false 2

Listening quiz 1
Ejercicio 2
Economy in Europe
The Dole


World of Movies

The Rock Star

The New Class

Business Communications

70-year old proves it’s never too late
Electric shocks
Company makes gas from garbage
City dwellers try raising chickens

Banned by Customs
Touchy Topics
Irish history


Choose one episode every Sunday



Choose one episode for each Sunday

Choose one activity for each Sunday.

Note: Remember to listen very carefully for only a few minutes at the beginning. Try to remember the sounds, structures and meaning.


Quiz Lesson 2

1) What is the difference between active and passive listening?

a) In active listening you don’t pay attention to details, in passive listening you do.

b) In active listening you pay attention to details, in passive listening you don’t

c) In active listening you do other activities apart from listening, in passive listening you just listen

d) In active listening you underline some words, in passive listening you don’t

2) When you start listening you should:

a) Listen to everything

b) Listen about 30 minutes

c) Listen to only 1 to 3 minutes

d) Listen whatever you feel like listening to

3) “Make the new sentences yours” means:

a) You write them on a piece of paper

b) You read them aloud a couple of times

c) You repeat them so often that they won’t sound unfamiliar any longer

d) You make a sentence yours

4) Why is it important to listen and then read?

a) Because if you read first you will never learn to pronounce correctly

b) It’s not important

c) To test your capacity to understand English

d) It’s more interesting

5) What should you do after you listen to a recording?

a) Try to write it down

b) Nothing. 

c) Pay attention to the new words

d) Pay attention to the difference between the spelling and the sound of the words

Answers here

Go to lesson 3


10 comentarios

  1. Saludos,
    Quiero aprender ingles y buscando un podcast, me encontré con el de ustedes, me encanta. Estoy comenzando hoy, pero todo lo que visto, me gusta mucho. Así que ya les ire contando de los avances


  2. Hola Maribel: Me alegro mucho de que te gusta y espero que te sirva. Muchas gracias por el feedback y esperamos saber de tus progresos. Saludos

      • Fernanda: Tengo que saber el contexto, pero debería ser:
        “because people don’t find the wrong word in this sentence”. No es “THE” people, porque estás hablando de la gente en general, no de un tipo de gente. Espero haberte ayudado. Saludos, Mónica

  3. Hola Mónica,
    Gracias por hacer que el curso FITA esté al alcance de todos lo que tenemos el inglés como “pendiente”. Decidí mejorar mi nivel de inglés – hablarlo fluidamente sin temor – y tú curso tiene información de gran utilidad para mí. Empecé hace una mes y sigo tus consejos al pie de la letra. Te comentaré a medida que vaya avanzando!
    Muchas gracias:)

  4. Buenos días Mónica, estoy interesado en seguir vuestro curso, pero me gustaría saber si se complementa con algo más que lo que indicáis en el blog. Sé que existe un grupo de Facebook y hoy mientras realizaba el test de nivel puede ver un formulario que básicamente era para crear un programa a medida de cada estudiante o eso me pareció a mí. Le escribo aquí porque les envié un mensaje por Facebook y no he recibido respuesta. Entiendo que no soy la única persona que les escribe, pero me gustaría que me explicase como funciona este curso, en cuanto a actividades a realizar. Gracias.
    Pd: He visto el video de introducción que hizo en español.

  5. Hola Mónica! He empezado hoy este curso. Tras leer la introducción me pareció justo lo que yo necesitaba! Estoy muy motivada para romper definitivamente la barrera del nivel intermedio. Pero me surgen algunas dudas sobre si lo estoy haciendo bien. Mi plan es cada día hacer una lección, veo el video, luego leo la lección sobretodo fijándome si hay algo que no saliera en el video y si hay algo “que hacer” lo hago (solo he llegado a la lesson 3) y pensaba además cada día ponerme al menos 1 audio de los que salen en la tabla de mes de la lesson 2. ¿Es así como debe seguirse? Gracias por todo el trabajo y ponerlo en abierto, es una maravilla y muy generoso!!

  6. Hola Lucía: Me alegra que te sirva. Sí, es correcto cómo lo planteas, solo que hay lecciones que no podrás hacer en un día. La misma lesson 3, sobre pronunciación es demasiada información para asimilar en un día. Yo creo que puede llevarte un par de semanas haciendo 10 minutos diarios cada día. Lo más importante es escuchar e intentar hablar en voz alta para repetir los sonidos. Al final, la rapidez con que lo hagas depende de tu capacidad de memorizar. La mayoría de los alumnos tienen una “memoria promedio” y debe practicar cada día para que se le queden las nuevas palabras y estructuras.

    Puedes también hacerme preguntas en el Grupo de Facebook.

    Si tienes más dudas, pregunta. Un abrazo Mónica

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