ABSTRACT  The Standards for Foreign Language Learning (1996) provide a new set of guidelines for the curricular development of second language (L2) or foreign language programs that will soon be in place across the United States to describe age-appropriate levels of student achievement, and against which teacher preparation and rewards will be measured. This essay traces the Standards as a template for an integrated L2 reading curriculum (Grades 4 through 16) and argues for the early inclusion of authentic reading materials in the L2 classroom.

First, we model ways to visualize the cognitive demands that the Standards place on students who attempt to fulfill them when learning to read in a foreign language. After that, with reference to a short reading text (included in the Appendix in the German original and in translation), we trace how these demands must be accommodated across a reading curriculum that spans grades K to 16 and make a case for the Standards as a tool that must be used to describe curricular sequences, not only learner achievement at particular age or grade levels.