This paper examines how identity is reconstructed in second language literacy of adult female refugees and immigrants, and how their prior literacy and language experience influences their current literacy usage which develops slowly due to a lack of suitable education for them in the United States, causing difficulties during their integration process. Responding to the low representation of immigrant women in research, three major research methods to collect the qualitative data were used: (1) prompted journal entries as narrative inquiries, (2) observations and field notes, and (3) semi-structured interviews to understand the participants’ previous and current literacy development and identity construction. Through a detailed analysis, the results demonstrated a connection between the first language (L1) and the second language (L2) literacy development and how the upbringing, as well as religious literacy, influenced the participants’ language learner identity and the identity as an immigrant. The findings shed light on the limited education services provided for adult women immigrating to the US and inform existing language programs by highlighting the unique lived experiences and related literacy needs of this population to voice their thoughts and stories that reconstruct their identities, as well as providing support for using the language in day to day encounters.


Sarah Henderson Lee

Committee Member

Paolo Infante

Date of Degree




Document Type



Master of Arts (MA)




Arts and Humanities

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



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