Over the past decade, a large number of articles have appeared in language teaching journals as well as books describing strategies and pitfalls in forming students’ socio-cultural competence. But almost all of these sources concentrate on building students’ socio-cultural competence in general. As for teaching specific aspects of culture, useful information can hardly be found. Studying culture should be carried out step by step and consist of some particular topics like art, history, geography, etc. of the English-speaking countries(ESC). That is why teaching history of the ESC promotes direct forming socio-cultural competence, which is the main goal of foreign language teaching at a Russian secondary school. The effectiveness of any English country studies course at a secondary school is determined by using authentic materials. Authentic materials increase students’ motivation and provide them with real aspects of a target language culture. The usage of authentic materials in teaching ESC history is shown as the most effective way of building students’ socio-cultural competence.