At school, were you allowed to read the script of the recording while you were listening?

I know I wasn't

All I read was the silly comprehension question before listening. Then I had to do my best to catch a few words and guess the answers.


We’ve all done it. We’ve all decided that the myths about understanding languages are true.


  • Reading a transcript while listening is bad.
  • Reading subtitles while watching a film is wrong.


I’m not into black and white, polarised opinions.


At the same time, I get it. I know you struggle to understand spoken English because you learned through reading and writing. Not speaking and listening.


The truth is understanding spoken English is hard. Most learners are just listening as much as they can. This includes reading and listening i.e watching films with subtitles or listening to podcasts that have transcripts.


But because you don’t know how to combine reading and listening effectively, you don’t make progress.


The end result: you don’t understand much more than when you started even though you’ve been practising for years.


What if you could combine the spoken and written in ways that actually get results?


Instead of seeing the combination as something “bad” or “forbidden” what if it could actually help you?


You need to quiet the voice of your schoolteacher in your head telling you it’s a bad thing.


I’m not talking about just reading (even though you can do that). I’m talking about a whole range of activities you can do thanks to the text that will help you go beyond just listening.


When you have the audio and the transcription you can:

  • do shadow readings to improve your pronunciation, speaking and listening (more details on how to do that in the books
  • create wordclouds to preview vocabulary before you listen
  • do dictations to discover why you’re struggling to understand: was it a new word? was it a word you already know in writing but didn’t recognise in speech? was it several words joined together that sound like a single word? was it something else?
  • listen with and without the text to check how much you understood and also to build your confidence in the beginning stages


That’s why I’ve created two audiobooks that let you read and listen at the same time. You’ll save 20% by buying both books together in a bundle. You’ll get:

  • All 20 episodes of Cara’s Fast Natural English podcast with the full transcript of each one
  • Over 2 hours of fast, spontaneous, conversational English
  • 9 blogcasts of my best blog posts – these aren’t available anywhere else
  • 9 PDFs of my best blog posts
  • Over an hour and a half of listening advice and practice in one place

Want to try before you buy?

Download the free, sample chapter of each book
About Cara and Leo Listening

About Cara and Leo Listening

Hi, I’m Cara Leopold, the online English listening teacher at Leo Listening. I help non-native speakers get conversation-ready by teaching them how to understand fast, informal spoken English without translating.

Click here to learn more about my story and how I can help you.