Adult literacy students’ metaphors of reading and writing

2014 IJRSE – Volume 3 Issue 1


Shaw, Donita*
University of Kansas, USA (

Mahlios, Marc
University of Kansas, USA (


The purpose of this study was to examine reading and writing metaphors of 144 adults who enrolled in literacy instruction at one of three adult education sites. Participants were given a questionnaire that solicited their metaphors for reading and writing. The adult students selected one reading metaphor from five choices or they could create their own. Likewise, they could select one of five writing metaphors or create their own. Results showed the adult students significantly differed in their reading metaphors, but they did not significantly differ in their writing metaphors. School site and age impacted their chosen reading metaphors, and gender impacted the selected writing metaphors. The most dominant reading and writing metaphor focused on parts or elements or reading and writing. Implications for adult literacy are discussed.

Keywords: adult; literacy; metaphors; reading; writing; conceptualization



*Corresponding Author