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EDLA167 Linguistics for Literacy

Unit rationale, description and aim

A high level of literacy is shown to be one of the key factors contributing to young people’s success in education, training and the workplace. For pre-service teachers to effectively teach literacy to children, they are required to master literacy concepts and language development.

In this unit pre-service teachers will develop an awareness of children’s language development and a deep understanding of different kinds of meanings that can be made in spoken, written and multimodal digital texts, in conjunction with the realisations of these meanings via textual, lexico-grammatical, grapho-phonological and visual resources. Theoretical frameworks of language will be explored with an emphasis on sociocultural and functional approaches to language.

The aim of this unit is to provide pre-service teachers with the foundational content knowledge, understanding and skills for teaching English and literacy across all learning areas and assessment using a variety of resources and strategies which demonstrate the cultural richness and diversity of society.

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 - Identify, describe and evaluate students’ language development, with reference to theories (GA1, GA2, GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8; APST 1.1, 1.2, 5.4; ACECQA A2, A5, B4, E2)

LO2 - Apply knowledge of vocabulary, grammar and visual design by analyzing printed, written and multimodal texts to demonstrate how meaning is made in texts (GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8; APST 1.1, 1.2; ACECQA A2, B4)

LO3 - Apply knowledge of phonology, phonemic awareness, phonics, and oral language to analyse spoken and multimodal texts (GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8; APST 1.1, 1.2; ACECQA A2, B4)

LO4 - Apply effective literacy and language knowledge and understanding to demonstrate personal literacy for different audiences, purposes and academic uses (GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8; APST 2.1; ACECQA A2, F3)

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 

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA7 - work both autonomously and collaboratively 

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


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

1.1 Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of physical, social and intellectual development and characteristics of students and how these may affect learning.

1.2 Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of research into how students learn and the implications for teaching.

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

5.4 Demonstrate the capacity to interpret student assessment data to evaluate student learning and modify teaching practice.

ACECQA Curriculum Specifications

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

A. Child development and care

A2   language development

A5   early intervention

B. Education and curriculum studies 

B4   language and literacy

E. History and philosophy of early childhood

E2   contemporary theories and practice

F. Early childhood professional practice

F3   professional identity and development


Topics will include:


  • Language development and learning
  • The relationship between cultural and situational contexts and language use.
  • The differences between oral and written language
  •  Imaginative, informative and persuasive texts.
  • Functions of language and expressions of meaning: Grammar, Vocabulary, Phonology and visual design in factual texts
  • Individual and sociocultural perspectives (e.g., gender, ethnicity, home language, ideology and context)
  • The influences of purpose, audience, and mode in oral, written and multimodal texts



  • Linguistic analysis at the Text, Sentence, Clause, Group/phrase and Word levels
  • Linguistic analysis of grammatical, lexical, phonological and visual features in a range of spoken, written and multimodal factual texts
  • Analysis of visual features in a range of texts
  • Application of Phonology, Phonemic awareness, phonics understanding to a range of texts

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

The learning and teaching strategy for this unit is based on a Constructivist approach that recognises that learning builds on pre-existing understandings and is shaped by a learner’s sociocultural context. In line with the chosen learning and teaching strategy, this unit includes: content delivery designed to encourage active learning and engagement, and teaching methods designed to consolidate the learning of content, apply knowledge to problem-solving tasks and develop analytical and evaluating skills. The learning and teaching strategy is achieved through a range of learning activities such as reading, reflection, discussion, and engagement with webinars, podcasts and video resources.

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. To achieve a passing standard in this unit, pre-service teachers 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 unit is hosted on a Learning Management System (LMS) site with resources and online links, announcements, and a discussion board to post questions and reflections that promote connection between content and educational experiences.


Mode of delivery: This unit may be offered in different modes to cater to the learning needs and preferences of a range of participants.

On Campus

Most learning activities or classes are delivered at a scheduled time, on campus, to enable in-person interactions. Activities will appear in a student’s timetable.


Learning activities are delivered through a planned mix of online and in-person classes, which may include full-day sessions and/or placements, to enable interaction. Activities that require attendance will appear in a student’s timetable.

Online unscheduled

Learning activities are accessible anytime, anywhere. These units are normally delivered fully online and will not appear in a student’s timetable. 

Online scheduled

All learning activities are held online, at scheduled times, and will require some attendance to enable online interaction. Activities will appear in a student’s timetable.

ACU Online 

In ACU Online mode, this unit is delivered asynchronously, fully online using an active, guided learning approach. Pre-service teachers are encouraged to contribute to asynchronous weekly discussions and receive regular and timely feedback on their learning.  

Assessment strategy and rationale

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

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. The Foundations of Literacy unit will focus on developing an understanding of, and skills across the professional knowledge, practice and engagement needed to meet expectations of the Graduate Attributes and the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers - Graduate level.

Assessment Task 1 focuses on the knowledge about children’s oral language development. Assessment task 2 focuses on students’ ability to analyse linguistic and visual features of printed written and multimodal factual texts. Assessment task 3, the examination, assesses pre-service teachers’ application of knowledge and understanding of literacy and language (i.e. grammar, vocabulary, comprehension, phonology) and visual design.

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.

Minimum Achievement Standards

The assessment tasks for this unit are designed to demonstrate the achievement of each learning outcome. In order to pass this unit, pre-service teachers are required to complete ALL assessment tasks and achieve an overall Pass grade overall. 

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Assessment Task 1: Language Development

Analyse a learner’s language sample to identify and evaluate language development with reference to key theories.



GA1, GA2, GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8

Assessment Task 2: Analysis of Texts

Analyse high quality printed, written and multimodal factual texts and explain how authors use language and visual design to achieve the intended communicative purpose.


LO2, LO3

GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8

Assessment Task 3: Examination

2-hour examination: Application of knowledge and understanding of literacy and language and includes grammar, vocabulary, phonology, comprehension and visual design. 


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4

GA1, GA2, GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8

Representative texts and references

Required text(s)

Derewianka, B., & Jones, P. (2016). Teaching language in context (2nd ed.). Oxford University Press.

Recommended references

Brown, A. (2014). Pronunciation and phonetics: A practical guide for English language teachers. Routledge.

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

Dubosarsky, U., & Riddle. T. (2017). The return of the word spy. Puffin Hill.

Humphrey, S., Droga, L., & Feez, S. (2012). Grammar and meaning. Primary English Teaching Association Australia Sydney.

McLeod, S., & McCormack, J. (2015). An introduction to speech, language and literacy. Oxford University Press.

Owens, R.E. (2020). Language development: An introduction, Global edition. (9th ed). Pearson Education

Painter, C. (1991). Learning the mother tongue (2nd ed.). Deakin University Press.

Winch, G. (2014). The grammar handbook. Oxford University Press.

Yule, G. (2020). The study of language (7th ed). Cambridge University Press

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