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：
- Cant find the right or write words? It may be emoji time.
- Crowdfunding sites can help start profitable businesses or help people in need.
- A recent study of cell phone use by the Pew Research Center found that most US adults think checking your phone is rude in social situations. Taking selfies is another story.
- Word Runner is a software update that shows one word at a time, instead of words, sentences and paragraphs on one page. Amazon says Word Runner was developed to make reading faster. By seeing one word at a time on the screen, you will not lose your place on the page.
- VOA慢速英语附字幕：苹果手机更新iOS9系统 加强续航、改变字体2015-09-19
- Updates to the operating systems for the Apple iPhone and iPad were released this week. The latest update of the operating system -- version iOS 9 -- is free and full of new features. Each fall for the past few years, Apple has released a new version of iOS that adds features to its mobile devices.
- VOA慢速英语附字幕：苹果发布iphone 6s、6s plus、apple watch、ipad pro2015-09-11
- Tim Cook, chief executive of Apple, reported that 97 percent of customers said they were satisfied with the new Apple Watch. It was launched in April, and Cook said Apple is looking to improve the Watch even better.
- Tens of millions of years ago, an asteroid hit what is now the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico. The event led to a global mass extinction that has been linked to the end of the dinosaurs. New research shows what that great disaster led to: a modern age of fish.
- American researchers say farmers should wait one day after a rain storm or watering their fields to harvest fresh fruits and vegetables. They say gathering the crops at least 24 hours after rainfall increases food safety. They say it also may be enough to protect those eating from fresh produce from food borne illnesses.
- There were 5.4 million cyber-attacks recorded last year in Kenya. That is more than double the number recorded in 2013. Most of the attacks involved financial crimes or targeted information infrastructure like computer systems. The targets were Kenyan government agencies, other groups and private citizens.
- The dry conditions in California are good for people who like to swim in the Pacific Ocean. Because of the drought, there is less water runoff from cities into the ocean. As a result, the ocean water is cleaner. But pollution remains a problem in other areas, including popular beaches.
- Health and medical experts gathered in Washington this week for talks on climate change and public health. They met at the White House. The meeting was held a day after the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency released a report on climate change.
- Today we have a vocabulary quiz. We start with two questions about terms for plants. First question: What is the name for a plant that lives only one year or one growing season?
- Scientists say sea levels are rising and will continue to do so into the future. Coastal communities around the world are already experiencing the impact of rising seas. Many cities and towns are taking steps to deal with this new reality.
- Experts predict nine billion people will live on our planet by 2050. They say by that time demand for food will be two times what it is now. Officials are worried about that prediction because many people already suffer from a lack of food. More than 800 million people go to bed hungry.
- An old Internet scam is getting some new attention lately. It is called ransomware. Ransomware is a term used for a specific type of software that locks up files or access to a computer until money is paid.
- Architects, engineers and building supervisors will soon be able to quickly collect information that once took weeks to measure and process.
- A new study says a widely-used insecticide is damaging wild bee populations. Wild bees are important, because they pollinate crops and wild plants.
- This summer, the latest version of Google's self-driving car will make its first appearance on public roads. The two-seat vehicle does not need a gas pedal or steering wheel. The prototype can drive, brake and recognize road dangers without human involvement. Google says the car is the first vehicle built for the purpose of self-driving.
- Amazon.com has received patent rights to send its products to customers by unmanned drone aircraft. The company is the largest U.S.-based online seller of products. It delivers those products to customers electronically, by mail and by other delivery services.
- VOA慢速英语附字幕：美国每年潮汐发电达1420亿千瓦时 等于330多核电厂2015-05-16
- Experts say that sun and wind are the richest sources of clean, renewable energy. But ocean waves also create powerful, clean energy. So, the U.S Department of Energy has announced a $1.5 million-dollar prize for the winner of a competition on how to capture that energy.
- Meningitis is spreading across West Africa. The brain disease is a threat every year across 21 African countries. Health officials call this area, the meningitis belt.
- The head of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, or NASA, said that the space agency is on track to land people on Mars in the 2030s.
- Having an automobile can be costly. In addition to paying for fuel, the owner of a car should set aside money for an insurance policy to guard against possible damage or loss. The owner also has to pay for normal repairs, like an oil change, and other work.
- Consumers around the world benefit from large food stores and large-scale food production. They can buy many fruits and vegetables throughout the year that were once sold only a few months out of the year. But there is a price to pay for this year-round availability.
- When computer servers operate a complex program, they can get very hot. Cooling the servers can be costly. So researchers asked what would happen if the heat created by the servers could be captured and used?