Teenage Novels of Adventure as a Source of Authentic Material


  • Ben Christensen San

    1. Diego State University
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      Ben Christensen (Ph.D., University of Washington) is a professor of Spanish and Applied Linguistics at San Diego State University, CA


ABSTRACT  As the foreign language teachers look to “authentic” material as a source of input, they may find literary pieces a valuable part of the repertoire of the curriculum. In particular, the teenage detective novel may serve a useful purpose in certain classes. Teenage novels of adventure, due to their unique components: peerlevel sleuths, suspense, intrigue, fast action, opposing forces of tension, and cliff-hanging chapter endings, have sustained the reading interest of millions of American youth during this century. This genre exists in countries of many of the languages we teach, and critical editions of such novels with culture notes, glossaries, and classroom activities have much to offer the foreign language classroom. One new teenage adventure novel series from Spain, “Las adventuras de Héctor,” is well suited for college and advanced high school Spanish classes. This article discusses the merits of the teenage detective novel, the literary contributions of Pedro Casals, the series' author, and classroom use of these texts for developing reading and conversation-skills.