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AuthorBigelow, M., & Lovrien Schwarz, R.
Adult English language learners with limited literacy
Full referenceBigelow, M., & Lovrien Schwarz, R. (2010). Adult English language learners with limited literacy. Washington, DC: National Institute for Literacy.
Adult English language learners who lack print literacy or experience with formal education encounter a unique set of challenges in their lives and their efforts to learn English. Educators and policymakers are similarly challenged by how best to help these adults acquire English literacy. This paper reviews a variety of research, including that on language acquisition, literacy development in adults and children, cognition and brain functioning, adult education, and professional development. Though research on this specific group of adult learners is sparse, available findings suggest that they need programs and classes separate from those for other beginning-level English language learners, with particular attention paid to cultural influences and their experiences (or lack thereof) with formal education. Those who teach these adults can benefit from professional development opportunities that focus closely on the specific backgrounds, strengths and needs of these learners.
Key words
Literacy, adult education, English (second language), ESL
Other interesting information
The book highlights the importance of different pedagogies and teaching materials depending on the individuals, whether they are literate or non-literate. Most ESL programs are inadequate to teach non-literate adults immigrants.  
Interest for the project
Contributor´s name + email
Stéphanie Barillé - stephanie@unak.is
Co-funded by The Erasmus+ programme of the European Union.
This project has been funded with support from the European Commission.
This publication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.
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