Reading “Inside” the Lines: An Adventure in Developing Cultural Understanding


  • Gilda Alvarez Evans,

    1. Fort Worth Independent School District
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      Gilda Alvarez Evans (Ph.D. Indiana University-Bloomington) Bilingual/ESL Coordinator, Arlington Independent School District, Arlington, TX

  • Olgalucía G González

    1. Washington and Jefferson College
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      Olgalucía G. González(Ed.D. West Virginia University) Assistant Professor of Spanish, Department of Modern and Classical Languages, Washington and Jefferson College, Washington, Pennsylvania


ABSTRACT  One of the major concerns of the foreign language profession today is to find a way to promote better cross-cultural understanding while continuing to develop linguistic skills. This paper presents a series of oral and written tasks based on authentic written texts.

In this case, the texts, taken from magazines for Hispanic waders, clearly reflect the traditional Hispanic cultural value placed on close ties among Family and friends. A series of activities grouped into prereading, reading, and postreading tasks is provided along with some student responses to them. After locating appropriate authentic tests, activities can of course be designed for any language.

The authors argue in favor of such task progressions for authentic texts. Reading “inside” the lines can be a motivating and enjoyable adventure for the students, and developing the tasks can be a similar challenge for the teacher.