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ERIC Number: ED482586
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 2003-Feb
Pages: 6
Abstractor: N/A
Reading and Adult English Language Learners: The Role of the First Language. ERIC Brief.
Burt, Miriam; Peyton, Joy Kreeft
This brief describes how literacy in the first language (L1) can affect the acquisition of reading skills in English, examining ways that instruction should be developed. It explains that learning to read is especially difficult for adults learning to read in a second language. According to the research, all English language learners (ELLs), regardless of the type of L1 literacy in their background, need direct teaching in the English symbol system and in English sound-symbol correspondences. In 2001, 42 percent of adults enrolled in state-administered, federally-funded adult education programs were enrolled in English-as-a-Second-Language classes. These adults come from diverse backgrounds and have widely differing experiences with literacy in their first languages. These factors must be considered in all areas of instructional program planning, student placements, and instructional approaches. The brief examines six types of L1 literacy and their impact on ELLs' development of English language literacy: limited literate learners (preliterate, nonliterate, and semiliterate learners) and literate learners (non-alphabet literate, non-Roman alphabet literate, and Roman alphabet literate learners). (Adjunct ERIC Clearinghouse for ESL Literacy Education.) (Contains 18 references.) (SM)
National Center for ESL Literacy Education, Center for Applied Linguistics, 4646 40th Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20016-1859. Tel: 202-362-0700; Fax: 202-362-3740; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: ERIC Publications; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Office of Vocational and Adult Education (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: National Center for ESL Literacy Education, Washington, DC.
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A