The readers I have in mind for this unit are primarily third year students of Spanish as well as native speakers with a need to improve their reading skills. Each selection has a “Base Vocabulary”, which is available for the reader so that he/she can fully grasp the meaning of the reading at hand. Difficult terms and idiomatic expressions which might also present problems for the reader are listed and explained. The unit contains a series of exercises designed to check reading comprehension at the end of each story. This skill acquired, the student will increase his/her ability to use words, common expressions, and idioms in a natural manner, in the target language. It is also hoped that his/her confidence and familiarity with the language will be enhanced.
The chosen selections have the added objective of developing pleasure in reading whole stories in Spanish which will serve as an incentive to learn more about Latin American culture. I have picked three short stories by three well known authors’ “Un d’a de estos”, by Gabriel Garc’a Márquez, “El asesino desinteresado Bill Harrigan”, by Jorge Luis Borges, and “Nos han dado la tierra”, by Juan Rulfo.
The student can look forward to exercises that will range from vocabulary drills, brief comments based on items found in the reading, replacing words written in Spanish for an English counterpart, grouping of words in which the students signal which word does not correspond to the same idea, as well as questions based on the reading itself. If the teacher wishes to expand the preparation of his/her students on what constitutes a short story, I strongly suggest he/she refer to the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute Curriculum Units gathered under the title
Reading the Twentieth Century Short Story
, compiled in 1983. The amount of resources available in that particular compilation, together with the well annotated and prepared plans, are of great value.