Using Authentic Reading Texts to Discover Underlying Sociocultural Information


  • Carmen Garcia (Ph.D., Georgetown University) is Associate Professor of Spanish and Linguistics at Miami University, Oxford, OH.


ABSTRACT Reading in a foreign language involves decoding the linguistic code but just as importantly, understanding the underlying sociocultural context which the linguistic code reflects.

This article describes how to use authentic Spanish language materials to design a variety of activities aimed at helping students discover and understand a text's underlying sociocultural context.

The texts themselves are taken from a unit in a second year Spanish course at Miami University entitled “Rituals of Hispanic Culture” and are comprised of different types of announcements published in Hispanic newspapers: births, engagements, weddings, and obituaries. The paper presents pre-reading, reading and post-reading tasks aimed at facilitating comprehension.