Adult Literacy Materials


Adult literacy materials are designed for native-speaking adults who have literacy needs. Learners who use these materials have full oral fluency in English. Adult literacy materials are often used in Adult Basic Education classes.

Benefits of adult literacy materials

  • They are structured for use with literacy learners, so they are often scaffolded.
  • They often begin with the basics of learning, which ESL literacy learners need.

Challenges of adult literacy materials

  • They are made for learners with native or native-like oral fluency, so the approach to building new vocabulary in the materials is different from what ESL literacy learners may need.
  • They are not organized around themes the way ESL materials are, so it can be difficult to fit them into a theme without a little modification.

Tips for using adult literacy materials

  • Pay attention to vocabulary and how vocabulary is taught: ESL literacy learners will need to learn vocabulary orally before seeing it in print and will not be able to rely on pronunciation or oral patterns to know when they "sound right."
  • Consider sight words and how they fit into the themes you are teaching.
  • Consider adapting materials by using manipulatives such as flashcards, realia, etc.
  • Determine which learning and reading strategies are necessary for using the materials and teach those strategies explicitly.