Publication Date


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT)


Literacy education for adolescents and adults has been a perplexing problem for ESL teachers, who are generally unprepared for this specific type of instruction. Materials designed for native-English speakers are not suitable for ESL literacy instruction, and teacher-training institutions are not providing preparation for ESL literacy for prospective ESL teachers. Furthemore, very little research has been done on ESL literacy. In spite of this dearth of information and lack of suitable didactic materials available, substantial numbers of nonliterate students are seeking ESL instruction. This thesis addresses the need for methods and materials specifically intended for ESL literacy instruction.

Library research and fieldwork were condicted in order to bring together a statement of information regarding suitable methods and materials for ESL literacy instruction. The information presented includes: (a) approaches and methods commonly employed in reading and writing instruction, with reference to the specific instructional needs of ESL adoloscents and adults, (b) widespread literacy programs associated primarily with languages other than English, and (c) literacy programs designed for ESL and native-English speakers. The information includes teacher-designed materials as well as those used in larger literacy programs, and several examples of the materials described are included in an Appendix.

The literacy methods and materials presented are evaluated in terms of their emphasis on word-attack (code-breaking) and meaningful, learner-relevant content. From those programs appearing to emphasize both these concepts, three are selected on the basis of their suitability for ESL literacy instruction for adolescents and adults.


Bilingual, Multilingual, and Multicultural Education | Curriculum and Instruction | First and Second Language Acquisition | Teacher Education and Professional Development