dramatically as children become adolescents and move through the grades from primary to secondary school. In adolescence and adulthood, reading demands are shaped by knowledge domains, each with specific types of texts and with expectations—often unspoken—for the kinds of texts to be read and written. It is important to understand how the texts and tasks made available to learners and how their perceptions of these texts and tasks affect motivation to persist, even in the face of linguistic and cognitive challenges. What tasks will engage learners in questions of interest to them (see Goldman, 1997; Guthrie and McCann, 1997; Guthrie et al., 1996)? What texts are available to learners in formal adult literacy programs? What texts typically are used and how? What texts should be used and how? A range of research methods should be used to investigate these questions, including large-scale surveys and inventories of the texts available and used for instruction in adult literacy settings; in-depth qualitative and ethnographic studies of how texts are used and perceived by adolescent and adult learners; and small-scale experimental studies that manipulate tasks and text types with different types of readers to ascertain more and less engaging text styles, types, and content.
Studies of group differences and similarities in the factors that influence motivation to persist with learning, reading, and writing. Although principles of motivation apply across populations, group differences in persistence can be expected according to age and other characteristics of the learner. Research is needed to understand how to address the particular challenges some learners have with motivation and persistence. This need is illustrated in research on writing: self-efficacy for writing declines with age in some studies and increases in others (see Pajares, 2003, for a review); similar mixed findings have been found for attitudes toward writing, with declines evident in some studies (e.g., Knudson, 1991, 1992) but not others (e.g., Graham et al., 2003; Graham, Berninger, and Fan, 2007; Graham, Harris, and Olinghouse, 2007). Several studies show that interest in writing develops over time (Lipstein and Renninger, 2007; Nolen, 2003). One’s attributions for success with writing may also vary with age: younger students in one study were more likely than older ones to give higher ratings to effort and luck as a cause of success (Shell, Colvin, and Brunning, 1995). Research on adult training in the workplace also suggests that the age diversity of classrooms could have negative effects on learning and that the learning environment may be more favorable for older students if structured to avoid unfavorable social comparisons, such as those related to speed of learning that might lower self-efficacy.
Technology. Technology use for older learners needs to be studied with attention to the features that motivate persistence and how technologies are best introduced and their use supported. Research is needed on how different technology formats influence conceptions and attitudes toward