From Teaching to Writing: The Creation of a Reader Intended to Support a Focus on Communication and the Cognitive Needs of the Learner in Spanish Classrooms

Date of Completion


Document Type

Open Access Capstone

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

First Advisor

Peter Taylor


In response to what I considered to be a lack of quality teaching materials that support a focus on communication in Spanish classrooms, I have endeavored to develop a Reader for use at the high school level. The primary goals for this Reader are 1) to facilitate the language acquisition of students, 2) to support a focus on communication in the classroom, and 3) to facilitate the cultural understanding of American high school students. In service of these goals I have created characters to whom I hope students will be able to relate. The characters share the native culture of the Reader’s intended audience and so serve as a bridge to the target culture in which the characters are immersed. The style is considered “simulated authentic” and is written in such a way as to make the content comprehensible for level 1 students. The activities are intended to emphasize the focus on communication by facilitating discussions that encourage students to connect themes in the story to experiences in their own lives, thus directing discussion toward what the students consider most relevant. This approach places the interests and the cognitive needs of the learner as its top priority and is based on the research of linguists, foreign language materials developers and cognitive scientists who have all specialized in second language acquisition. My own experiences of teaching Spanish in the classroom for nine years and my on-going studies in the Critical and Creative Thinking Program at UMass Boston during the past six years have also contributed in countless ways to the thinking that has gone into this project. This synthesis serves as a narration of my process as well as an explanation and a justification for all the design decisions I have made in creating the Reader.


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