Review of The Desire for Literacy: Writing in the Lives of Adult Learners

In The Desire for Literacy: Writing in the Lives of Adult Learners, Lauren Rosenberg offers readers insight to the journey of four adult learners, participants at the Read/Write/Now Adult Learning Center in Springfield, Massachusetts, as they strive to obtain literacy.  Their desire for literacy does not stem from the desire to acquire new job opportunities; instead, they are motivated by their desire for self-improvement.  Three of the study participants—George, Lee Anne, and Chief—are retirees over the age of sixty.  Violeta, the fourth and youngest study participant, is a single mother of six who receives public assistance.  The four participants share their experiences in gaining literacy over the course of Rosenberg’s four-year study.  Rosenberg applies a critical lens to her participants’ experiences seeking to answer several important questions:  How is the nonliterate community devalued as knowledgeable citizens with the ability to think critically for themselves and about the world around them?  What motivates adults in the nonliterate community to become literate?  How and why have the voices of the nonliterate communities continued to be silenced in a country where nonliteracy in adults remains a concern?  Rosenberg answers these questions and many more, keeping in mind her intended readership: those who shape current literacy programs, curricula, and potentially influence public policy.

Download the complete review

Rosenberg, Lauren. The Desire for Literacy: Writing in the Lives of Adult Learners. Conference on College Composition and Communication/ National Council of Teachers of English, Urbana, Illinois, 2015.

About the author

Corey D. Greathouse is a Ph.D. student at the University of Texas at San Antonio.  Prior to beginning his studies at UTSA, he received his M.A. in Literature from Texas State University.   Greathouse’s research interests are in nineteenth century African American autobiography, first-year college composition studies, and African American linguistics.  He currently works as an Assistant Professor of English at Austin Community College.