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：
- The top U.S. and Iranian diplomats have been holding almost weekly meetings in an effort to finish an agreement on nuclear weapons. However, a website called The Intercept says that a "cyber war," attacks against computer networks, is taking place behind the scenes.
- So you think you know your dog. But how well does your dog know you? She probably recognizes you when she sees you. But can a dog tell by simply looking at you whether you have a happy or an angry expression on your face?
- An increase in cyber-attacks and identity theft make the Internet seem like a scary place these days. The hacking of Sony Pictures led the news for some time. The U. S. State Department public email system was shut down. Even the White House was a target of cyber-attack.
- More than fifty years ago, researchers developed an oral vaccine against the deadly virus, polio. The vaccine, taken by mouth, is credited with almost stopping the spread of polio. Now, researchers are looking ahead to the time when the disease will exist only in a laboratory.
- Many areas of cropland in Bangladesh are becoming unfit for farming. The land is becoming salty. It is a big problem for the small country. More than 155 million people live in Bangladesh. Growing crops is the most common way Bangladeshis support themselves.
- VOA慢速英语：Animal Weapons Offer Lessons for Human Arms Race2015-02-19
- When animals fight for mates, food and territory, they use the weapons they were born with: teeth and claws, horns and hooves. Human animals can use their hands and feet, but they also fight with knives, guns and bombs.
- VOA慢速英语：Hawaii Prepares for Possible Tsunami2015-02-18
- Scientists say rising temperatures on Earth's surface are to blame for rising sea levels. The reality of rising sea levels means many coastal and island communities are at risk when a tsunami strikes. The island state of Hawaii is taking steps to prepare for tsunami waves. Officials there want to be ready if such an event takes place.
- It has been more than 40 years since the discovery of the early human skeleton named Lucy. The old bones were found in Ethiopia. Lucy is one of the most famous finds of the 20th century. She helped researchers better understand the history of human beings.
- The makers and pilots of a solar-powered plane will try to fly it around the world beginning next month. The plane is called Solar Impulse 2, or SI-2. It arrived in pieces recently in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates.
- For hundreds of years, Africans have preserved their history through storytelling. But, some Africans worry that oral traditions will be lost to Internet connections and social media.
- VOA慢速英语附字幕：NASA航天器“黎明号” 接近到达“矮行星”2015-02-01
- An American spacecraft is moving closer to a dwarf planet called Ceres. The American space agency's Dawn spacecraft is set to reach the planet-like object in March.
- Kawangware is one of the fastest-growing slums in Nairobi, Kenya. It is also the poorest. Most of the 300,000 people who live there try to survive on less than $1 a day.
- The past year has been the busiest 12-month period for the American space agency in more than 10 years. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration, NASA, launched three missions in 2014. It began a fourth project earlier this month. A fifth launch is set for this Thursday, January 29.
- From VOA Learning English, this is the Technology Report. Researchers are now using three-dimensional, or 3D printing to create models of the human heart to help heart specialists. The heart doctors can use the models to better help patients before an operation.
- Imagine a camera that can take one hundred billion pictures a second -- that is enough to record the fastest movements in the universe.
- From VOA Learning English, this is the Technology Report. Researchers at Stanford University have developed a new material that can move heat out of buildings and into space. The researchers say the material can cool buildings even on hot days.
- From VOA Learning English, this is the Technology Report. Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness around the world. In the United States alone, more than two million people suffer from the disease.
- The Consumer Electronics Show is held yearly in the western American city of Las Vegas, Nevada. It is one of the largest technology shows in the world. Technology companies and experts from around the world come to the event to see, hear and talk about the latest innovations and devices.
- From VOA Learning English, this is the Technology Report. Many teachers believe that hands-on experiences is the best way to learn. A group of students in the United Sates is putting that belief to the test.
- It's been 10 months since Malaysia Airlines flight 370 disappeared. Despite search efforts that stretched from the South China Sea to the Indian Ocean, the plane remains lost.
- Researchers are now using three-dimensional, or 3D printing to create models of the human heart to help heart specialists. The heart doctors can use the models to better help patients before an operation.
- From VOA Learning English, this is the Technology Report. Can you imagine riding around the streets of your hometown on a skateboard without wheels? In the late 1980s, film director Robert Zemeckis showed a skateboard floating above the ground in his movie Back To The Future Part II.
- From VOA Learning English, this is the Technology Report. Another political fight is taking shape in Washington, D.C. At issue: proposed changes to the way the Internet is regulated in the United States.
- Premature birth is the biggest killer of children worldwide. About one million babies around the world die of problems that strike because they are born too early. Many of these babies could have been saved if they had been placed in an incubator.
- Many millions of years ago, the last dinosaurs lived in what is now the American West. Now, scientists studying dinosaur fossils have documented what happened to the ancient creatures. An exhibit showing some of the results has opened at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.