Focus on Research: Dr. Leah Fonder-Solano

En Tu Medio

En Tu Medio: Intermediate Spanish

The culmination of six years of research and writing with co-authors Casilde Isabelli and María Isabel Martínez-Mira, Dr. Fonder-Solano's intermediate Spanish language textbook proposes to profoundly impact the field of language teaching. It includes not only the printed text but also an interactive e-text, a complete online workbook and lab manual, a series of PowerPoints for each chapter, a test bank, instructor’s manual, cultural videos, and a series of authentic short films. It departs from existing, traditional models of second-year textbooks in several important ways:

  • It presents vocabulary and grammar in a highly visual, authentic context oriented toward youth culture.
  • It has a communicative, proficiency-oriented focus. While it practices all four skills (listening, reading, speaking, writing), there is a special emphasis on integrated, real-world speaking and writing activities.
  • It groups related grammatical concepts together, presenting them holistically (as opposed to the traditional piecemeal approach which spreads small “chunks” of difficult concepts over several chapters).
  • It systematically recycles both first-year concepts and those presented in previous chapters.
  • It incorporates authentic short films and cultural videos into activities throughout the chapter, using them as a springboards for analysis and conversation.
  • It includes interactive grammar presentations, with opportunities for students to intuit meaning of new structures and notice similarities and differences in grammatical patterns prior to their formal presentation.
  • It highlights and practices reading, listening, speaking, and writing strategies.
  • It includes cultural and literary readings at many different levels, fully supported by pre- and post-reading preparation, comprehension, and analysis activities.
  • It creates a sense of accomplishment as well as a bridge to third-year courses with a “see what I’ve learned” overview in the last two chapters and by developing strong reading and writing skills throughout.
  • It employs cutting-edge technology and interactive web-based support. It is the first intermediate textbook designed from the ground up to function as an interactive, online e-text. As such, it is ideal for online or hybrid instruction.  

Leah Fonder-Solano holds a Ph.D. in Spanish from the University of Arizona. She enjoys teaching all levels of Spanish language and culture, beginning through graduate courses. She advises Spanish licensure students and plays a central role in undergraduate teacher education and program accreditation (CAEP). Her research centers on contemporary Spanish and Latin American writers, film, and Spanish language education. She is an active member of the American Council on the Teaching of Languages (ACTFL) and a reviewer for the journal Foreign Language Annals.