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Integrating Literature into Lower Level Spanish Classes

ELENA BELKIN AND SAMANTHA PETREE NORTHERN ARIZONA UNIVERSITY

Importance of Teaching Literature in Lower Level Spanish Classes
 To develop the following skills:  Reading  Writing  Listening  Speaking  To teach:  Culture  Grammar  Vocabulary  Self awareness

Factors affecting students’ attitudes toward literature
 Preconceptions about literature discussions
 Length of text  First time exposure to authentic text in the L2

 Reading proficiency in the L1
 (Rosenblatt, 2002)

Teachers’ perceptions toward the use of literature
 Literature is not feasible for lower level Spanish

classes  Time constraints  Concern for students’ understanding  Curriculum constraints

What teachers can do to ensure a positive literature experience
 Teachers need to:  be open to students’ thoughts about the text  have a positive attitude  vary the activities  explain benefits and purpose of reading the text  be educated about the text (author, social/historical context, themes, literary elements, etc.)

 (Rosenblatt, 2002)

Selecting an appropriate text
 It is important to consider the following factors:
   

Length of text Vocabulary Grammar Authenticity

 It is important to ensure that the text includes one or

more of the following aspects:
 


 

Social- relevant to adolescents’ social perspectives Emotional- link to previous experiences in order to feel empathy/compassion Psychological- identify with characters Moral- discusses difficult ethical questions (Rosenblatt, 2002)

Techniques for teaching L2 literature

 Input to Output Method
 Repeated Reading Approach  Incorporating reading, writing, listening, speaking,

grammar and vocabulary  Incorporating socio-cultural contexts and psychological aspects

Input to Output Method
 Allows students to simultaneously attend to lexical

and grammatical form as well as contextually, conceptually and critically negotiate its meaning (Weber-Feve, 2009)  Can be used to assure students’ basic comprehension of the literary text, and to facilitate students’ ability to analyze critically the literary text (Weber-Feve, 2009).

Elements of the Input to Output Method
 First, provide students with only input based

activities, where students do not have to produce anything in the L2.
 Next, create activities that involve both input and

output. These activities guide students to the final stage, production.
 Lastly, create activities where students have to

produce everything in the L2.

Examples of Input to Output activities using the text “El tiempo borra” by Javier de Viana
 First stage: Input activities

Input Activity

Second Stage
 Second stage: Activities with input and output

Third Stage
 Final stage: output activities  In groups of two, students have to write an ending to

the story that includes the following information: Why did Indalecio go to the Oriental Band? What is he doing in the Oriental Band? What are his emotions? How does his wife feel?

Repeated reading
 Repeated reading approach- similar to narrow

reading (Krashen, 1981)

By repeatedly reading a text pertaining to a specific content area and/or by the same author, students build up vocabulary and syntax, and become aware of the cultural and rhetorical schemata of the author (Carroli, 2002) The ‘narrow’ reading process focuses very closely on form, and at the same time, leads students to link form to meaning. The repeated reading approach proved especially effective when learners shared their understanding of the text.

Using repeated reading with “House on Mango Street” (by Sandra Cisneros)
1.) Students read “La casa en Mango Street” with a glossary at home 2.) Students answer pre-reading questions at home and them bring to class along with the reading 3.) In class, the teacher gives an explanation of the historical and cultural context 4.) Students listen to Audiobook of “La casa en Mango Street” in class while they read along 5.) The teacher stops the audio at the end of the selected chapters. In groups, students interpret one paragraph from the selected chapters and report their paragraph to the class.

Ideas on creating reading, writing, listening, speaking, grammar and vocabulary activities using a literary text
 Poem: “Biografía” by Gabriel Celaya

 Introducing the topic (speaking): Discussing with a

partner, answer the following questions:

Do you have to follow a lot of rules at home? At school? What rules do you have to follow at home? What rules did you have to follow when you were younger? Do you think it is important to have rules?

 Vocabulary  Identify difficult vocabulary words  TPR, photos, matching, using in a sentence

“Biografía” continued
 Introducing the text (listening)  Students listen to an audio of the poem, read by the author  Students answer the following questions: What is the tone of the poem? Does the poem evoke certain feelings or emotions?  Discuss with a partner

 Reading the text  Students answer questions that help guide them through the reading. Ex: How many verses are there? How many stanzas are there? What type of language is used? Each stanza relates to a different stage of life-who is giving orders in the first stanza? The second? The third?

“Biografía” continued
 Grammar  Students have to underline all of the commands in the poem and identify the affirmative and negative commands  To whom are the commands directed?  Could be used as an introduction to commands, and students could work together to figure out the command form  Writing  Students write two stanzas of a poem that reflect the rules they had to follow/obey when they were younger

Incorporating socio-cultural contexts with “House on Mango Street”
 Reference to geographic context:

http://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&ie=UTF8&ll= 41.859845,87.655792&spn=0.015757,0.038624&z=15  Reference to author: http://www.sandracisneros.com/index.php

Incorporating psychological contexts with “House on Mango Street”

 Reference to psychological context:

delving into Esperanza’s character  Pre-reading questions: Part 1: Identity “Mi nombre” Part 2: What parts of your life would you most like to escape? Part 3: What inspires you most? What do you see in your future?

Incorporating socio-cultural contexts with “Un marido sin vocación” (by Enrique Jardiel Poncela)
 El machismo  Song about marriage:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VBrIv2yJMx8

 Written activities dealing with divorce, threats, and love:

Escribir determinado mensaje con sólo cinco frases para cada uno (25 frases en total) 1. Una declaración de amor. 2. Una amenaza. 3. La respuesta a una amenaza. 4. Pedir un divorcio 5. Responder a la demanda de un divorcio

Incorporating psychological contexts with “Un marido sin vocación”
 Personal questions about marriage and love

Examples: 1.) ¿Crees que es el destino de los seres humanos es estar junto con la misma persona toda la vida? 2.) ¿Por cuánto tiempo necesitas conocer a tu novio/a antes de casarse? 3.) ¿Tienes un/a novio/a? o ¿Has tenido un/a novio/a? ¿Hay momentos en que no quieres estar con él/ella? o

Conclusions
 In conclusion, it’s the teacher’s responsibility to

engage and guide students through the literary journey of comprehending and enjoying an authentic text.
 “Por medio de la literatura participamos en

situaciones imaginarias, vemos a los personajes experimentando crisis, nos exploramos a nosotros mismos y al mundo que nos rodea.”

-Louise M. Rosenblatt

References
 Carroli, P. (2002). Levels of understanding of L2 literary texts

under repeated readings: Factors to contributing to readers’ processing of second language literature and their learning outcomes. Proceedings of Innovations in Italian teaching workshop, Griffith University.

 Krashen, S. (1981). Second language acquisition and second

language learning. Oxford: Pergamon Press.
The Modern Language Association.

 Rosenblatt, L. (2002). La literatura como exploración. Nueva York:

 Weber-Feve, S. (2009). Integrating language and literature:

Teaching textual analysis with input and output activities and an input to output approach. Foreign Language Annals, 42(3) 453467.

Questions