Detailing the integration of Spanish language teaching in an authentic setting, this article contributes to empirical research on the positive value of community-engaged learning in foreign language pedagogy. Reading to Play, Playing to Read is an innovative model for community-engaged teaching that combines learning goals from upper-level language and literature courses with the objectives of a non-profit organization serving the Latino community in Southwestern, Pennsylvania. This community-engaged project bridged language and literature curricula in the same department to prepare students for careers in a multicultural society. Students from both courses worked cooperatively to develop a three-week project on Mexican history for Hispanic children, ages 5 to 8, who recently immigrated to the United States. Reading to Play, Playing to Read provided the children with a safe space where they learned about Mexican literature and history, enhancing their elementary education. University students reported gains in their Spanish conversational and listening skills and changes in their future career plans geared towards Spanish-speaking populations. This article describes the project, research results, and challenges, and it discusses the implications for research and practice.


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pp. 357-372
Launched on MUSE
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