English Listening Practice | Story + Dictation

Lesson Overview

This lesson is the ultimate dictation & English listening practice lesson! Download the workbook to practise your English listening skills in three different ways!

Watch the video for dictation practice:

1. Download the workbook and answer the *listening for gist* questions (based on what you understood from the story)
2. Then watch again to fill in the missing chunks of words – this is advanced listening for phrasal verbs, contractions and unstressed words in naturally spoken English!


Video Transcript

Well hey there, I’m Emma from mmmEnglish.

Today I have an English listening practice for you. It’s an advanced English dictation lesson. I’m going to test your English listening skills while I tell you a story about the most wonderful adventure that I went on with my friend just a few weeks ago.

And because it’s a dictation practice, you’ll need to write down the words that you hear but you don’t see up on screen here. That’s your challenge.

So what do you need? You will definitely need a notebook and a pen. And you’ll need to write down the numbers one to thirty-five down the side of the page. There are thirty-five answers that you need to write.

This lesson actually comes with a free PDF workbook that I’ve made for you to help you study and learn the new English words that you learn through this story. It’s completely free for you, you just need to click the link in the description below and I will email it through and you can get started.

3 Ways to practise listening

There are actually three different ways that you can practise using your listening skills with this video and I recommend you do all of them.

  1. The first is to watch the video and listen for the advanced words that I use in this story but are missing from the script that you see up here on screen. There are thirty-five words that are missing from the script that you’ll need to guess after listening to my story.
  2. The second way is to practise listening for gist, so I’ve included some comprehension questions in the workbook for you and once you’ve finished watching this video then you can download the workbook and answer the first questions while the story is still fresh in your mind. This will help you to confirm that you’ve understood the general meaning of the story.
  3. And the third way is to listen for connected speech. This really is advanced listening practice. So I’ll test your understanding of naturally spoken English by asking you to fill in some of the phrasal verbs, the contractions and the grammatical words that are unstressed in fast, naturally spoken English. You will need to use the transcript in the workbook for this section.

Okay so make sure you turn off subtitles down here, that’s going to give you all the answers that you don’t need, you need to be listening for these answers as I speak.

We are about ready to get started. Let’s dive in!

Listening Practice Activity

Last Sunday morning was a sunny day and I woke up with an urge for adventure. I decided to break out of my usual routine and get out of town. The first thing I did was call my good friend, Rebecca. We were best friends when we were growing up and our friendship has remained strong even throughout adulthood. Bec’s married now and she has two kids so I wasn’t optimistic when I called her to find out if she wanted to drop everything and join me on a spontaneous road trip.

But to my surprise, Bec was on board! It just so happened she had her parents-in-law visiting that weekend, so she was able to cast aside all of her usual responsibilities and come along. I couldn’t believe my luck! I told her that I’d swing past her place in about twenty minutes and pick her up. When she asked where we were going I told her it was a surprise. To be honest, I didn’t know yet. I was throwing this plan together on the fly!

So I grabbed my hiking boots, some snacks, a bottle of water and jumped in the car. There’s a place up in the hills where we used to go camping as teenagers. I hadn’t been there in years but there were some beautiful waterfalls and great hiking trails so I figured it’d be a great place to start!

When I pulled up outside her house, Bec was waiting on the front lawn with her backpack on looking like a kid about to go on school camp. I laughed though because I was just as excited to have escaped the monotony of our daily routines and for a whole day! So as we took off up the road, I opened the sunroof, Bec put on a ’90s playlist of all of our favourite hits from school. So we were singing at the top of our lungs, hair blowing in the breeze, music pounding from the speakers, it was awesome.

After about an hour or so we turned off the main road and Bec instantly knew where I was heading. This place was special to both of us, a hidden gem that remained a secret to most of the world even until today. It’s a tranquil lagoon within a steep gorge. It’s an arduous journey to get down to it. We knew we’d need to scramble over some rocky ledges so we laced up our hiking boots. We picked up our backpacks and we started our descent into the gorge. And with each step, the air became cooler and the sounds of the forest seemed to envelop us.

At this point, the lagoon is obscured from view by soaring trees. We fell into a peaceful silence as we made our way down the treacherous cliff face knowing that a luxurious dip in the cool dark water below awaited us. It’s a place that demands reverence as if you’re standing in a colossal outdoor cathedral. It’s exquisitely beautiful.

As we reached the bottom of the gorge, there was a disturbance on the water’s surface and I heard Bec’s short, sharp gasp. We stared at each other for a moment and stealthily made our way through the trees to the water’s edge. We saw it again and this time I knew for certain. It was a platypus. These are incredible creatures, endemic to eastern Australia. You won’t see them anywhere else in the world and they’re incredibly shy. It’s quite rare to see them in the wild. In fact, it’s only the second time in my entire life that I’d seen one in its natural habitat. They hide out in rocky crevices or in tree roots below the waterline.

After watching the platypus for a few moments, it seemed to disappear. So we pulled off our sweaty shirts and edged ourselves into the cool water. It was divine. We lay floating on our backs peering up at the blue sky for what felt like hours but I’m sure it was just minutes! But I was profoundly grateful to that urge for adventure that pulled me out of bed that morning. That moment was everything that I’d hoped for and more. We ate our snacks, had another dip and then hold ourselves out of the gorge.

On the journey back home, Bec and I reflected on how essential this type of spontaneous escape is to help you reset your perspective, to nurture friendship and to spark gratitude for the simple things in life. It was a great day.


So tell me, have you ever done anything spontaneous like this? Does it help you to reset when you feel a little bit stuck or maybe a bit unhappy about the way things are going in life?

I hope that you enjoyed listening to my story and I also hope that you got some of those missing words that you were able to guess some of them. I’m going to give you the answers in just a minute but before I do, I want to give a little shout out to the sponsor of today’s lesson.

Meet English-speaking friends with Hey Lady! an online community connecting women around the world through English. We make it easy for you to meet fantastic English-speaking partners from different countries to practise speaking English with regularly in the warmth and the safety of a woman-only environment. To learn more about what we do and get a Hey Lady! Conversation Pack for free just click the link down in the description below.

Listening Practice Answers

Okay, here are the answers:

  1. Urge
  2. Throughout
  3. Optimistic
  4. Spontaneous
  5. On board
  6. Parents-in-law
  7. Couldn’t believe
  8. On the fly
  9. Some snacks
  10. For years
  11. Front lawn
  12. Sunroof
  13. Breeze
  14. I was heading
  15. Hidden gem
  16. Tranquil lagoon
  17. Laced up
  18. Our descent
  19. Envelop
  20. Obscured
  21. Made our way
  22. Awaited us
  23. Colossal
  24. Exquisitely
  25. Disturbance
  26. Gasp
  27. Water’s edge
  28. Eastern Australia
  29. Quite rare
  30. Natural habitat
  31. It seemed to
  32. Divine
  33. Profoundly grateful
  34. Hauled
  35. Nurture friendship

Don’t forget to download that workbook so you can complete the two extra listening practice activities for this lesson. Plus you’ll find all of the definitions for those advanced words that you learned today. All of them with examples.

Thanks so much for watching and I’ll see you next week!

Links mentioned in the video

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