Literacy development for adult migrants: literature review

Project management

Project supervision

01.2018 - 12.2023
Migration, Learning, Acquisition, Teaching

Literacy courses designed for adult migrants have been offered for decades in countries experiencing significant immigration. The recent past has seen an increase in research on the teaching and learning processes that are involved in successful and sustainable literacy development for adult migrants in a non-native language and that therefore should be taken into account in literacy classes; nevertheless, significant research gaps remain. Current practice in literacy development for adult migrants is based largely on assumptions and observations rather than on scholarly findings.

It is against this backdrop that a review of literature on literacy development for adult migrants will be compiled. The review aims to present a synthesis both of scholarly findings and of the features of influential teaching concepts and (further) education materials.  

Purpose – Expected results

The review will present empirically based research findings on literacy development for adult migrants in a non-native language and make them available for practical use in educational settings; thereby, findings from language acquisition, language learning and language teaching research will be taken into account. At the same time, the review depicts the current foundations for (reflected) literacy development for this target group.

Through analysis and systematic categorisation of the findings from the aforementioned research areas, the review is also intended to provide the foundations for future curriculum design and for the development of teaching materials for the target audience of adult migrants. Moreover, the literature review aims to highlight the gaps and needs in research on literacy development for adult migrants. As such, the review can serve as the starting point for (follow-up) projects in the relevant areas.

A thematic dossier on our web portal contains all the bibliographic references included in the report as well as further literature on the topic.