Reading to Play, Playing to Read

Program Description

Reading to Play, Playing to Read is a community-engaged project that combines the learning goals of two Spanish courses: MLSP 302W-CE Composition and Conversation and MLSP 280 Spanish for Health Professionals. Students from both courses collaborate to develop a 4-week program on health awareness and illness prevention culture for 5-8-year-old Hispanic children, who recently immigrated to the US. Hispanic children attend Beechwood Elementary school in the Beechview neighborhood.

In 2016, Reading to Play, Playing to Read was recognized nationwide by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) as a Globally Engaged Program. This prestigious award is shining a national spotlight on the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures. It is truly an honor that attests to the breadth and depth, the impact, and the curricular integration of Dr. Osa-Melero's and Professor Martínez's exemplary educational venture as well as the quality of the community partner relationship. Their initiative responds to Duquesne University priorities and is in line with the growing trend of community-engaged teaching and research that addresses both the needs of community partners and the educational experience of our students.

Program Goals

Develop solid relationships with the Pittsburgh Spanish-speaking community in order to create an innovative community-engaged program that connects Spanish-speaking children with college students of Spanish and students of Health Sciences. 


For students:

  • Development of Spanish oral and listening skills
  • Development of cultural awareness 
  • Inclusion of Spanish-speaking population in their future career plans

For children:

  • Cultural and linguistic empowerment in a culturally relevant context
  • Awareness of good health habits and importance of exercise
  • Development of reading skills in their first language


The first edition of the program took place in 2015. In this edition students in the Composition and Conversation class were combined with students in the Spanish American Theatre Avant Garde. Students from both courses developed a program on Mexican history and culture for 5-8 year-old children, who recently immigrated to the US.


2016 and 2017
The second and third edition combined students from Composition and Conversation and Spanish for Health Professionals.



Professor Lucía Osa-Melero teaches MLSP 302W-CE Composition and Conversation
Professor Carmen Alicia Martínez teaches MLSP 280 Spanish for the Health Professionals


Duquesne University Magazine - Fall 2016 (page 36)
Duquesne University News - April 2016 
ACTFL Press Release - November 2016
Good News for a Change - 2016 
Essential Pittsburgh NPR - June 2016


ACTFL Globally-Engaged Program Award, 2016

The ACTFL Global Engagement Initiative recognizes outstanding community-engaged learning experiences within the world languages curriculum at all levels of instruction. Such initiatives may include a variety of experiences and should clearly show students engaged in cultural communities beyond the experience of simply travel abroad. Students of all ages and schools of all demographics can participate in a community of a different culture through activities such as service learning, project-based learning, internships, research projects, and virtual class exchanges. * description from ACTFL website


Duquesne Creative Teaching Award, 2017