On October 19, 1959, the Voice of America broadcast the first Special English program. It was an experiment. The goal was to communicate by radio in clear and simple English with people whose native language was not English. Special English programs quickly became some of the most popular on VOA. They still are. Special English continues to communicate with people who are not fluent in English.
Over the years, its role has expanded. It helps people learn American English while they learn about American life and stay informed about world news and developments in science. It provides listeners with information they cannot find elsewhere. Through the years, Special English has become a very popular tool for teaching English, although it was not designed as a teaching program. The short sentences, limited vocabulary and slow pace of speaking make it easy to understand. It succeeds in helping people learn English in a non-traditional way. People around the world practice their listening and speaking skills by recording the programs and playing them repeatedly. Internet users can also listen to programs on the Special English Web site while reading the text. (Source: http://www.voanews.com/learningenglish/about-us/)
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