Special English 又叫“慢速英语”，是VOA 专为全世界非英语国家初学英语的听众安排的一种简易、规范的英语广播节目。该节目创始于50年代末期，是VOA 的专家们研究如何与世界各地的英语学习者进行交际的产物。它正式开播于1959年10月。当时只面向欧洲和中东，但由于这个节目适合许多国家英语学习者的需要，所以它的广播对象不久就扩大到世界其他地区，并很快在全世界范围内产生了广泛的影响。现在这个节目对欧洲、非洲和拉丁美洲每晚广播一次，对加勒比地区每晚广播一次（星期天除外），对东南亚广播次数最多，每天上午两次，晚上三次。
30多年来，VOA 为了办好Special English节目，进行了大量的调查研究工作，对播音速度、内容及用词范围都作了具体规定，基本上达到了既能为英语学习者提供信息，又不损害英语本身风格的目的，使之成为VOA 独具特色，拥有最大量听众的节目。
美国著名词汇学家S. B. Flexmer 指明了Special English的三条标准，也就是它所“特别”的地方：
- America’s holiday shopping season starts at Thanksgiving, with Black Friday and Cyber Monday. They are the two busiest shopping days in the U.S. More shoppers are shopping online, using smartphones to search for the best deals.
- Crowdfunding is rapidly growing in popularity around the world. It’s a way to raise money online for businesses, charitable organizations and artistic projects. But these new platforms also raise serious regulatory, legal and ethical issues.
- Many people are concerned about signs of weakness in the Chinese economy. They want to know how these changes will affect economic activity in the rest of the world.
- For over a week, investors have been closely watching sharp changes in share prices on China’s stock market. Some investors say the wild movements have intensified because of concerns about the truthfulness of that nation’s economic reports.
- More than 25 percent of the world's fisheries are overfished, according to the United Nations. Many communities worldwide depend on the ocean for their livelihoods. Now, they are struggling to manage resources. A growing number are adopting programs called catch shares.
- China’s economy again has made news as the country works to deal with a volatile stock market and slowing exports. Those issues have influenced markets around the world.
- VOA慢速英语附字幕：中国A股遭遇黑色星期一 上证指数重挫8.5%2015-08-25
- Stock market shares in China fell sharply early Monday. The Shanghai Composite dropped 8.5 percent, marking the sharpest fall China has seen since 2007. Chinese media are calling the day Black Monday.
- From VOA Learning English, this is the Economics Report. The last two months have been difficult for investors in China’s stock markets. Major stock indexes, measures that track share values, all had big decreases during the month.
- Stock price indexes in China had their sharpest one-day drop in eight years on Monday. Stock indexes also decreased around the world but to a lesser extent.
- American businesses have begun to explore how they can sell their goods and services in Iran. For many years, restrictions on trade have stopped many companies from doing business in the country.
- The price of gold fell to its lowest level in five years in trading early Monday. For a time, gold was selling at less than 1,100 dollars an ounce on Asian markets.
- American investors are wondering what effect the situation in Greece will have on the United States and its economy. But some observers say the investors should be more worried about the debt problems in a U.S. territory -- the island of Puerto Rico.
- China’s stock markets have lost nearly $3 trillion from their peak in June. As a result, the government has introduced new measures hoping to stop weeks of declining prices.
- VOA慢速英语附字幕：希腊举行公投 亚洲股市跳水2015-07-07
- Share prices mostly fell on Asian stock markets Monday after Greek voters rejected a European financial plan requiring new cost-cutting measures.
- The first day of summer was June 21 but the summer movie season began well before that. Last week, we talked about Jurassic World, which has proved to be a huge hit. The movie has sold more than $1 billion in tickets. Last weekend it passed Avengers: Age of Ultron to become the number one movie of 2015.
- The United States job market has millions of unfilled jobs. Many of those jobs require technical skills. However, employers say many of those jobs are vacant because they cannot find people with the right skills to do the work. Labor experts call this paradox the skills gap.
- In just two weeks, Jurassic World has earned more than one billion dollars in ticket sales around the world. It is already the second most popular movie of 2015. The huge hit is part of the dinosaur movie series that began in 1993 with the Academy Award-winning Jurassic Park.
- VOA慢速英语附字幕：苹果改变流媒体政策 将在试用期付费2015-06-24
- Pop music queen Taylor Swift took a bite out of Apple this week and the company responded with Love.
- From VOA Learning English, this is the Economics Report. A new report says income inequality is hurting the potential for growth around the world. It says the best way to deal with the inequality -- or lack of fairness -- is by helping poor people and the middle class.
- Egyptian officials are making plans to open a newly-expanded Suez Canal on August 6th. Officials say the new canal will be more than double the waterway’s earnings over the next 10 years. But some experts say the project alone will not be able to turn around Egypt’s economy.
- China is expanding the size of its fishing boat fleet to try to provide enough food for its citizens and to export. But as the boats travel the world, they are often criticized for overfishing and for having conflicts with ships from other countries, especially in disputed parts of the South China Sea.
- From VOA Learning English, this is the Economics Report. Chinese investment in Australia has moved to the real estate market and infrastructure. It is yet another sign that Australia’s once strong mining industry is weakening, as Chinese businesses look for new places to invest.
- One hundred years ago, a new kind of cookware entered the American market. It was called Pyrex. Today the Pyrex name is well known in the United States. The heat-resistant glass products are still being manufactured. And early Pyrex products are now considered collector's items.
- The United States Senate recently passed a measure called Trade Promotion Authority. Under the bill, the Congress can only vote for or against a trade agreement once it has been negotiated.
- From VOA Learning English, this is the Economics Report. The United States Senate moved closer this week to a final vote on Trade Promotion Authority. The Senate agreed on Thursday to end debate on the TPA bill. The vote was 62 to 38.