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EDLA168 Childrens Literature for Literacy

Unit rationale, description and aim

Children’s literature is an essential part of literacy education.

This unit will introduce pre-service teachers to an extensive range of children’s literature which includes contemporary melded genres, multimodal texts, picture books, post-modern texts, screen-based literature and poetry to build foundational knowledge for the teaching of literacy. Pre-service teachers will understand the importance of analysing texts using historical, sociocultural and post-structural perspectives and key literary theory. The unit is designed to develop and deepen pre-service teachers’ knowledge of children’s literature and how it is used to develop and enhance oral language development, literacy competency and enjoyment. Contexts and strategies for responding to, thinking about and critiquing children’s literature within a basis of literary, semiotic and language theories will be considered. The unit will also consider Indigenous literature, enabling pre-service teachers to acknowledge Indigenous Australians’ deep spiritual relationship with the land, and value and respect Indigenous cultures.

The aim of this unit is to offer opportunities for pre-service teachers to read and critique a wide range of children’s literature, consider what constitutes constructs quality children’s literature, and to participate in discussions with deep understanding, within a framework that engages the social and ethical dimensions of study and research.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1     examine the constructs of children’s literature, ranging from traditional tales to post-modern picture books and multimodal digital literature adaptations such as animated picture books, film adaptations of children’s literature and poetry (GA4, GA9; APST 2.1; ACECQA A2, B4)

LO2     identify and use an extensive range of children’s literature for varying purposes and contexts to assist in the selection of texts for children and adolescents to promote early and continued reading development, (GA5, GA8; APST 2.1, 3.4; ACECQA A2, B4, D4, D5) 

LO3     identify and analyse the contexts and strategies for responding to, thinking about and critiquing children’s literature through application of literacy, semiotic and language theories (GA4, GA5; APST 2.1; ACECQA A2, B4)

LO4     explain the historical, sociocultural and post-structural perspectives of children’s literature, (including multicultural and Indigenous literature), that inform awareness of justice and equity issues (GA1, GA2, GA3, GA4; APST 2.4; ACECQA D2, D3, D4, D5).

Graduate attributes

GA1 - demonstrate respect for the dignity of each individual and for human diversity

GA2 - recognise their responsibility to the common good, the environment and society 

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA8 - locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information 

GA9 - demonstrate effective communication in oral and written English language and visual media 


On successful completion of this unit, pre-service teachers should be able to:

2.1 Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the concepts, substance and structure of the content and teaching strategies of the teaching area.

2.4 Demonstrate broad knowledge of, understanding of, and respect for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories, cultures and languages.

3.4 Demonstrate knowledge of a range of resources, including ICT, that engage students in their learning.


On successful completion of this unit, pre-service teachers should have developed the following specific knowledge:

A.     Child development and care

A2.  Language development

B.     Education and curriculum studies 

B4.  Language and literacy

D.     Families and community partnerships       

D2. Multicultural education

D3. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives

D4. Socially inclusive practice

D5. Culture, diversity and inclusion


  • Multimodality and the metalanguage of visual and verbal texts
  • Critical approaches to reading children’s literature
  • The contexts of children’s literature
  • The language of literature (e.g., metaphor, alliteration, simile, poetic devices, the lexico-grammar of literature)
  • Literary techniques and strategies and their linguistic and multimodal realisations/devices’
  • Literary theories in relation to children’s literature (e.g., reader response, post-structuralist, post-modern, gender)
  • Historical development of children’s literature
  • Characteristics of Literary genres in children’s literature (e.g., folk and fairy, realism, fantasy, historical, multicultural and Indigenous; non-fiction, anime, graphic novels hybrid)
  • Contemporary melded genres, post-modern picture books and multi-modal digital genres
  • Issues in children’s literature (e.g., bravery, coming of age, journey, exploration, social realism; social justice)
  • Poetry
  • Children’s literature in the classroom

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

The learning and teaching strategies in this unit include (1) lectures which may be delivered in workshop styles to encourage active learning and high level of engagement, (2) tutorials to consolidate learning content and apply knowledge in problem-solving tasks and develop analytical and evaluating skills and possible independent online learning tasks. The learning and teaching strategy is based on a Constructivist approach in a sociocultural context.

This is a 10-credit point unit and has been designed to ensure that the time needed to complete the required volume of learning to the requisite standard is approximately 150 hours in total across the semester. To achieve a passing standard in this unit, students will find it helpful to engage in the full range of learning activities and assessments utilised in this unit, as described in the learning and teaching strategy and the assessment strategy. The learning and teaching and assessment strategies include a range of approaches to support learning such as reading, reflection, discussion, webinars, podcasts, video etc.

Assessment strategy and rationale

The assessment tasks and their weightings allow pre-service teachers to progressively demonstrate achievement against the course learning outcomes by demonstrating academic and professional standards. This unit will focus on developing understanding of, and skills across the professional knowledge, practice and engagement needed to meet expectations of the Graduate Attributes and the APST: Graduate level.

Assessment task 1 focusses on students’ ability to analyse the interrelationship between words and pictures in response to literature. Assessment task 2 is a small group presentation and written report or multimodal text on a chosen genre to demonstrate the role of children’s literature in developing strategies for the enjoyment of reading highlighting a social justice issue. Assessment task 3 assesses students’ application of knowledge and critical evaluation of key literary theories in relation to reading aloud with reference to children’s early reading development.

The three assessment tasks are sequenced to allow feedback and progressive development of content knowledge and skills to prepare pre-service teachers for pedagogical knowledge units in the sequence of language and literacy units.

A range of assessment procedures are used to meet the unit learning outcomes and develop graduate attributes and professional standards and criteria consistent with University assessment requirements. (

Minimum Achievement Standards

The assessment tasks for this unit are designed to demonstrate achievement of each learning outcome. In order to pass this unit, students are required to complete ALL assessment tasks and achieve an overall Pass grade overall. Learning Outcome 4 (explain the historical, sociocultural and post-structural perspectives of children’s literature, (including multicultural and Indigenous literature), that inform awareness of justice and equity issues) is only assessed in Assessment Task 3. A pass in this component of Task 3 is an additional requirement for passing the unit overall.  

Electronic Submission, Marking and Return

Assessment Tasks will be submitted, marked and returned electronically via (LEO) as appropriate within 3 weeks after the submission date. 

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Assessment Task 1

Short Analytical Essay: Response to literature: Analyse and demonstrate an understanding of the interrelationship of words and pictures in an assigned text.



GA4, GA9

Assessment Task 2:

Understanding the role of children’s literature

Small group presentation in literature circles in tutorials and written report/brochure or creation of a multimodal text on a chosen genre to demonstrate an understanding of the role of children’s literature in developing strategies for and enjoyment of reading and enhancing knowledge of social justice issues using picture books and young adult novels. 


LO1, LO2, LO3

GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9

Assessment Task 3

Extended Analytical Essay

Select three texts from the genres covered in this unit, read and evaluate each text with explicit reference to key literary theories and contexts. Choose one to read aloud to a group of young children and critically reflect and evaluate the read aloud with reference to children’s early reading development.


LO2, LO3, LO4

GA1, GA2, GA4, GA5, GA8

Representative texts and references

Required text(s)

McDonald, L. (2018). A literature companion for teachers (2nd ed). Marrickville, NSW: Primary English Teaching Association Australia (PETAA).

Winch, G., Johnston, R., March, P., Ljungdahl, L., & Holliday, M. (2020). Literacy: Reading, writing and children’s literature (6th ed.). South Melbourne, Vic: Oxford University Press.

Recommended references

Callow, J. (2013). The shape of text to come: How image and text work. Marrickville, NSW: Primary English Teaching Association Australia (PETAA).

Mallan, K. (Ed.) (2014). Picture books and beyond. Newtown, NSW: Primary English Teaching Association Australia (PETAA), pp. 75-91.

Emmitt, M., Zabaracki, M., Komesaroff, L., & Pollock. J. (2015). Language and learning: An introduction for teaching (6th ed.). South Melbourne, Vic: Oxford University Press.

Fellowes, J., & Oakley G. (2020). Language, literacy and early childhood education (3rd  ed). Melbourne, Vic: Oxford University Press

Flanagan, V. (2013). Similarity or difference: The problem of race in Australian picture books, Bookbird: A Journal of International Children’s Literature, Vol.51(2), pp.13-22.

Keifer, B., & Tyson, C. (2014). Charlotte Huck’s children’s literature: A brief guide. (2nd ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill

Serafini, F. (2014). Reading the visual: An introduction to teaching multimodal literacy. New York, NY: Teachers College Press. 

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