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Preparing Adult English Learners to Read for College and the Workplace

Subjects: Applied Linguistics & Linguistics, English as a Second Language (ESL)
Ebook : 9780472221721, 246 pages, 3 b&w illustrations, 4 photos, 6 x 9, July 2024
Paperback : 9780472039661, 246 pages, 3 b&w illustrations, 4 photos, 6 x 9, July 2024
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How to prepare adult English learners for reading success

Table of contents

Introduction: The importance of academic and professional reading in adult English language education 
Chapter 1: Research-based reading processes and strategies for adult learners; Dolores Perin, Teacher’s College, Columbia University
Chapter 2: Learning to think critically about texts; Robyn Cox, RMIT University (Melbourne, Australia)
Chapter 3: Selecting engaging texts for intensive and extensive reading; Annie Barron, Wake Technical Community College
Chapter 4: Improving the comprehension and vocabulary skills of adult English language learners with content integrated language instruction; Shawn Slakk, ABCDS&S Consulting
Chapter 5: The importance of interactive writing for developing readers; Joy Kreeft Peyton, Senior Fellow, Center for Applied Linguistics, Jana Staton, Faculty Affiliate, Counseling Department, University of Montana
Chapter 6: Building literacy and reading in the digital age; Jen Vanek, World Education
Chapter 7: Teaching reading to adult English learners with learning differences; Rebeca Fernandez, Davidson College
Chapter 8: Teachers and students reading for pleasure: Teachers as role models; Kirsten Schaetzel, Emory University
Epilogue: JoAnn (Jodi) Crandall, University of Maryland


The ability to read effectively—to work with a text, understand its meaning, and talk and write about it with, and for, others—is a critical aspect of academic and workplace success. However, many adults who are learning English as a second or additional language do not have the skills needed to be successful and may drop out of college and university programs before they reach their goal. Bringing together a rich collection of topics and authors, this edited volume provides theory, research, and instructional approaches to help adult education ESL practitioners work effectively with adult learners and prepare them to be successful with reading in academic and workplace settings. 

After reading this book, adult ESL practitioners will be able to

  • Prepare adults learning English to apply appropriate reading strategies to a variety of academic and professional contexts and purposes
  • Use instructional strategies, including digital technology, to help struggling and developing readers close gaps in skills and conceptual knowledge
  • Improve reading comprehension through robust vocabulary instruction
  • Enhance reading skills and comprehension through writing instruction that balances sentence-level, discourse, and interactive processes and practices
  • Inspire students to become lifelong readers who engage in extensive reading outside of school and professional contexts

Kirsten Schaetzel is an English Language Specialist at Emory University. 
Joy Kreeft Peyton is a Senior Fellow at the Center for Applied Linguistics in Washington, DC. 
Rebeca Fernández is Associate Professor of Writing and Educational Studies at Davidson College. 

“A stellar resource for current and prospective adult English education teachers, materials writers, curriculum developers, program administrators, and teacher trainers. The research-based knowledge and practical teaching tips presented throughout will help adult educators build learners’ all-important reading and digital-literacy abilities, which they need for their contemporary educational, workplace, and daily-life goals.”

- Fredricka L. Stoller, Emerita Professor, Northern Arizona University

“The authors address critical issues in preparing adult English learners for the reading demands of college and the workplace, including principles and practices for comprehending complex text, strategies for reading critically, and reading in the digital age. This volume highlights the importance of rigorous reading instruction in any adult education program!”

- Betsy Parrish, Professor, Hamline University

“From a powerful introduction describing today’s landscape of adult literacy with piercing accuracy, through the well-chosen topics by leading experts in the subsequent chapters, this book is a gift to those in the field who are helping adult learners gain the reading skills they need to transition into whatever’s next in their lives.”

- Patsy Egan, ATLAS Program Director, Hamline University

“Teachers and administrators in adult ESL and college-level English programs face increased expectations in teaching reading for high school graduation, post-secondary education, vocational training, and employment. This volume will help them understand the complexity of reading and identify a range of strategies that might be used to help learners achieve their goals. Each chapter addresses a specific challenge, such as teaching learners with limited formal education or literacy or with learning differences, or helping them develop critical thinking and digital literacy skills as well as improving their writing. The chapters provide a number of effective strategies and resources for teachers to use, ending with “closing questions” for reflection and connections with personal experiences. Each chapter could serve as the basis for a professional development workshop, study circle, or other activities in a professional learning community, and the collection could be an excellent text for a course on teaching reading to adults.”

- JoAnn (Jodi) Crandall, Professor Emerita, University of Maryland, Baltimore County