This special issue is a snapshot of current research in this area, showing many of the issues encountered, the methods employed, and the limitations faced. All four studies involve experimental or quasi-experimental studies but all are based on participants recruited from adult literacy programs. Together these studies illuminate many of the gray areas of adult basic processing, particularly for adults in basic skills programs. They present many of the complexities of studying how literacy adults: the high percentages with learning disabilities, the differences across native and non-native English speakers and within classes of the latter, the different processing abilities of adults and children matched for reading ability, the impacts of language and orthography on reading strategies, and the importance of measure speed, as well as accuracy in studying basic processing. As such, the present studies are an indication that scientific programs exist and are at work on key issues.