When I work with international clients in English communication coaching, I am often asked about how to build learning into everyday life, and what my key recommendations are of what to follow in English.
Reading and listening to content in English is a great complement to my contact time with clients, as in these sessions we focus on new insights, practical exercises and simulations of an individual’s real-life business situations, so they can understand how to apply the principles in a variety of ways.
But even with self-study challenges which I provide to apply the key learning insights in between meetings, there is still an opportunity to boost learning further with regular exposure to English, especially if you do not live currently in an English-speaking country.
The only problem is that the choice of audio and reading materials can feel overwhelming, and sure, you can pop onto iTunes to search, or try out a randomly chosen book, but it can be difficult to assess in advance the quality of the content, whether it is appropriate for your level and how applicable it is to support your learning.
So, today I am going to reveal exclusively to you my list of recommendations for listening and reading which I share with my clients, who are at an advanced level of English and are determined to challenge themselves further to build a regular learning habit for English.
This is my carefully curated list, which I am always building on and adding new ideas to, so do feel free to reply and let me know what else you have found useful!
Podcasts on international current affairs and politics in English:
- Harvard Center for International Development
- The Guardian Politics Weekly
- Intelligence Squared– debate and intelligent discussion on current affairs.
History podcasts in English:
- Dan Snow’s History Hit– key events in history.
- Travels through time– a leading historian, novelist or public figure answers the question, “If you could travel back through time, which year would you visit?”
- Witness History– history as told by the people who were there.
English podcasts with a British perspective:
- The Bottom Line– current affairs and hot topics.
- Beyond Today– focus on 1 headline from the week.
- The Best Thing since Sliced Bread– investigating latest trends and whether they are actually any good.
- Word of Mouth– how we use English language and communicate.
- The English We Speak– current latest phrases in English.
Reading recommendations in English:
Everybody has their own unique tastes so here are a variety of author recommendations by genre for you to try out.
- Easy reading:Bill Bryson (travelling around the UK and other English-speaking countries), Marian Keyes and Cathy Kelly (stories about women and their lives).
- Classic Crime fiction:Agatha Christie, Ruth Rendell or Arthur Conan Doyle (Sherlock Holmes).
- Thrillers:John Grisham, John le Carre, Ian Rankin.
- Fiction with historical settings: Phillipa Gregory (Tudor history, Henry VIII etc.), Kate Atkinson or Robert Harris.
- Fiction about London and the UK: Monica Ali, Zadie Smith, Ian McEwan.
- Non-Fiction about the British: Watching the English by Kate Fox; Very British Problems by Rob Temple; Londoners: The Days and Nights of London Now.
General Reading- online newspapers and magazines:
- BBC News
- The Stylist, women’s magazine
- Time Out London
- The Evening Standard and ES magazine
- Metro London