Some second language (L2) learners are unique in that they bring low print literacy and limited formal schooling to the language learning enterprise. A range of personal, economic, historical, and political circumstances bring them to highly literate, industrialized societies where print literacy becomes not only desirable but necessary to earn a living and participate in a range of everyday activities. This article is a review of current research related to this population of learners for the purpose of informing educators about their particular teaching and learning needs. While the emphasis is on scholarship focused on adult L2 emergent readers, attention is also given to related research with bi-and multilingual children and monolingual adults who are not print literate. Finally, sociopolitical and historical issues are touched upon with regard to broader policy matters that may have contributed to or perpetuate low print literacy.