Faculty Scholarly Dissemination Grants


L2 Writing and Adult Literacy Learners: A Synthesis of the Research


English Department


College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Date Range



Arts and Humanities


According to the Office of Vocational and Adult Education (OAVE), nearly half (42%) of the more than 2.1 million adults in ABE and ASE were enrolled in ESL programs in the year 2009-2010. This indicates a substantial and growing need for teachers with expertise in ESL for non-literate, low-literate, and low-educated adult learners. Unfortunately, we still know little about how this diverse group of learners acquires literacy in a second language, particularly with regard to writing, which, for a variety of reasons, has been viewed as less relevant than other modes of communication for these learners (Cumming & Gill, 1991; Gillespie, 2000). This dearth of knowledge results, in part, from the fact that second language writing studies, much like its parent disciplines, has until very recently largely excluded LESLLA from its research agenda (Leki, Cumming, & Silva, 2008). Moreover, what we have learned to date about these learners L2 writing is not readily available to researchers, teacher educators, or students in TESOL because: (1) its published in a variety of forums (websites, conference proceedings) that are not indexed by major databases in the field; (2) the scholarly journals in which much of it has appeared to date are outside of SLA and TESOL, principally in ABE; and finally (3) its not taught in most ESL teacher preparation programs, whose focus is academic ELT (Faux, 2005).

Conference Name

Low Educated Second Language and Literacy Acquisition for Adults 2013 Symposium

Conference Location

City College of San Francisco, CA

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