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：
- From VOA Learning English, this is the Technology Report. Last year, a typhoon seriously damaged Leyte Island in the Philippines. More than 7, 300 people died or are missing. Four million Filipinos lost their homes, and many of them lost their incomes.
- American scientists are warning of a threat to the world's coral and rocky reefs. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has identified four reasons for the threat. They are human population growth, the warming of Earth's atmosphere, pollution and overfishing – catching too many fish.
- From VOA Learning English, this is the Technology Report. South Korea is dealing with increasing amounts of waste from electronic devices. These useless or unwanted parts are often called e-waste.
- Scientists know where earthquakes are likely to take place. But it is difficult for them to predict how strong an earthquake will be. Now, American researchers have found that it may be possible to predict the strength of future quakes.
- From VOA Learning English, this is the Technology Report. Kenya is East Africas largest economy. Its capital Nairobi is growing quickly. But so is the citys crime rate -- the Nairobi Metropolitan Crime Observatory says thieves steal an average of 10 cars each day.
- From VOA Learning English, this is the Technology Report. Bicycle frames are usually made out of materials like carbon fiber, steel or aluminum. But in rural Ghana, a businessman has developed another way to make bicycles from a natural product -- bamboo.
- From VOA Learning English, this is the Technology Report. Five years ago, the Mars Rover Spirit got stuck in sand on the red planet. Spirit is one of the American space agencys two motorized vehicles on Mars.
- From VOA Learning English, this is the Technology Report. Testing new drugs for safety and effectiveness is a costly process in the United States. It also can take a lot of time. Some scientists are now designing silicon computer chips that act like human organs.
- From VOA Learning English, this is the Technology Report. Three-dimensional printers are fast becoming everyday devices in the United States. Three-D printers are used to make everything from automobile parts to bone replacements for human patients.
- An unmanned privately-owned rocket bringing supplies to the International Space Station exploded seconds after launch Tuesday night. The accident did not cause any injuries on the ground. However, it has raised questions about efforts by the US space agency NASA to use private companies to carry out near-Earth space exploration and supply missions.
- From VOA Learning English, this is the Technology Report. When most people imagine a classroom, they think of older people teaching younger ones. But when it comes to learning about high-technology devices, the opposite can often be true.
- In 1900, about 100,000 cheetahs lived in the world. Today there are only 10,000 of the animals. Just about everyone knows that cheetahs are fast. Some studies have measured their speed at about 95 kilometers an hour over distances of about 366 meters.
- From VOA Learning English, this is the Technology Report. Facebook and other social media sites are free for everyone. But a new social media site promises to be more exclusive by only permitting people who are rich to join.
- From VOA Learning English, this is the Technology Report. The Internet Governance Forum took place last week in Istanbul, Turkey. The United Nations provided support to the yearly conference.
- Cameroon is experimenting with Africa's first mobile system to send a cardiac, or heart signal over a wireless network. The system will give much needed medical assistance to heart patients in rural areas. Cameroonian Arthur Zang invented the device called the Cardiopad. He was just 24 years old when he invented it.
- From VOA Learning English, this is the Technology Report. The Internet is one of the most popular forms of technology. But can using Internet have the same effect as taking a drug? The answer seems to be Yes in at least one country.
- Could a creature that lived 95 million years ago travel from what is now North Africa to Europe and even to North America? Yes, but it probably was not easy.
- A new computer program is being praised as a life-changer for blind people. The new program is known as the KNFB Reader app. It can help users listen to an audio read-back -- the sound -- of printed material.
- From VOA Learning English, this is the Technology Report. The Federal Aviation Administration, or FAA, has chosen a university town in Virginia as one of six places to test drones. Drones are aircraft without human pilots.
- From VOA Learning English, this is the Technology Report. Brain imaging was once thought to be too costly and difficult for widespread use in the developing world. But the technology soon may be available in poor countries.
- From VOA Learning English, this is the Technology Report. The American computer company IBM says it has developed a microprocessor -- a computer chip -- that works much like the human brain.
- From VOA Learning English, this is the Technology Report. A record number of Americans are moving into cities. When they move into urban areas they drive less. New York city is one of the top cities for new people and for users of mass transit.
- From VOA Learning English, this is the Technology Report. European airplane maker Airbus plans to have new passenger airplanes by the end of the year. The new models will use some of the most modern technologies, including metal parts made in a 3-D printer.
- From VOA Learning English, this is the Technology Report. The war in the Gaza Strip is being fought as much on the Internet as it is on the ground. Some people say the increased use of social media is changing the way people look at the conflict.
- From VOA Learning English, this is the Technology Report. A fly with an extremely unusual ability to hear is the model for what may be the future of new and improved hearing aids. The insect behaves like a parasite -- an organism that lives on or in another organism called a host.