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：
- VOA慢速英语附字幕：为打击黑客和网络恐怖主义 中国加强互联网管制2017-03-20
- China says it wants to extend its control of Chinese territory and waters to the internet and information technology. Critics say Chinese officials also wants to suppress critics.
- Anthropologist Paul Garber says primates future are threatened. The University of Illinois scientist released a report on primates in January. He told VOA his research shows possibly 60 percent of primate species are now threatened with extinction and about 75 percent have declining populations.
- In the northern Nigerian city of Kaduna, local rap and fashion artists are helping build a vibrant arts scene.
- The Carter Center uses YouTube, Facebook and Twitter to create maps showing where fighters are gathering. Former President Jimmy Carter tells VOA the maps can help aid groups.
- Some Taiwanese colleges and universities are preparing documents or statements that support the political beliefs of the government in Beijing. They are doing so in hopes of getting more students from China’s mainland. But Taiwan’s government is trying to lessen its dependence on China.
- America’s travel industry says it fears new restrictions on foreign visitors to the United States will harm U.S. tourism.
- International trade in the horns of the big land animals has been outlawed since 1977. Supporters of the new law say it will increase money to protect rhinos. But environmentalists say no trade in rhino horn should be permitted.
- Hundreds of companies have expressed interest in helping build U.S. President Donald Trump’s southern border wall. However, only one of them is from Mexico.
- Protests erupt in major cities against Brazilian President Temer’s pension reform plan. Despite protests, and a looming corruption scandal, Brazil’s credit rating has been revised to stable
- Angelina Jolie’s latest directorial effort is a first for her and many others. The movie, First They Killed My Father, was filmed entirely in Cambodia and in the Khmer language.
- Fast-moving water spilled onto streets and into homes on Thursday during intense rainstorms in Lima, Peru’s capital. The heavy rains reportedly killed at least 12 people.
- As China prepares for a visit by the new US Secretary of State, Chinese officials say good relations are important. But they warn that a trade war would hurt American businesses.
- A Dutch populist party known for its anti-Muslim views failed to take first in parliamentary elections. The far-right Party for Freedom, led by Geert Wilders, came in second behind Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s right-wing VVD party. The results were seen as a setback for European populist movements.
- After a judge in Hawaii blocked President Trump’s newest travel ban, some people are proposing Americans #BoycottHawaii.
- A United States federal judge in Hawaii has suspended President Donald Trump's new travel ban order.
- California is set to open its roads up for the first time to self-driving vehicles with no human drivers. The proposed change, expected to be approved by the end of the year, would allow testing of vehicles with no steering wheel or pedal controls.
- The United States has announced charges against four people suspected of stealing information from at least 500 million Yahoo user accounts in 2014. The four are accused of targeting the email accounts of Russian and U.S. government officials, reporters, financial services employees and military.
- Ousted South Korean leader Park Geun-hye has moved out of the presidential home. But she left her dogs -- including seven puppies -- at the presidential palace. Now, animal rights groups are accusing her of animal abandonment.
- The EU’s top court has ruled that employers can ban some religious symbols, such as headscarves, in the workplace. But the European Court of Justice said such a ban must be part of a company’s overall policy for all employees to dress neutrally.
- Criminals have hijacked an oil tanker off the coast of Somalia in the Indian Ocean. Pirates hijacked the large ship called the Aris 13 on Monday.
- The Southeast Asian nation signed the Trans-Pacific Partnership. But with the U.S. withdrawal from the agreement, Vietnamese leaders are now looking for other trade deals.
- Pi is something you may remember from math class. While Pi Day celebrates its importance, some people celebrate March 14 with pie - the dessert - instead.
- Researchers say it was easy to recognize small amounts of calcium in the arteries of young people. They said the study can be a “call to action” for doctors and their patients to begin taking action to prevent a heart attack or early death.
- VOA慢速英语附字幕：极地科考船（Boaty McBoatface）回来了2017-03-14
- Do you remember Boaty McBoatface? The funny - and winning - name suggestion for a British research ship did not stick. But Boaty is back...in the form of a submarine.
- In 2014, Scottish voters rejected a proposal for independence from Britain. But Scotland’s prime minister wants a 2nd independence vote. She says Brexit, the Britain’s vote last year to leave the European Union, will hurt Scotland.