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EDLA518 Primary English Education 1

Unit rationale, description and aim

Being literate and proficient in reading, writing, viewing, listening and speaking is a fundamental requirement for full participation in society. The crucial role of Primary and Early Childhood teachers is to equip children to be able to apply literacy knowledge to a wide range of situations and texts.

This unit will examine recent theory, research and concepts that are foundational to literacy learning and teaching in the early years (Birth to Year 2). With a focus on the emergent and early literacy development of children in the early years, the teaching of reading and writing and how children learn to read and write will be developed using a balanced literacy approach. A range of evidence based pedagogical approaches, which include oral language, phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, comprehension and fluency and through the use of authentic texts, will be applied to both early childhood and primary contexts. This unit includes a focus on the three strands of the Australian Curriculum: English: Language, Literature and Literacy, as well as reference to the Early Years Learning Framework. Literacy planning, teaching and assessment practices will be based on current literacy research which supports the literacy learning process for diverse learners and will draw on the discipline knowledge developed in the previous unit. Underpinning the learning in this unit is a fundamental concern for justice and equity, and the dignity of all human beings based on literacy as a sociocultural concept and one in which all young Australians can become successful learners.

The aim of this unit is to ensure pre-service teachers take a balanced literacy approach to teaching literacy which includes the ability to motivate, develop and extend children’s responses to imaginative, informative and persuasive texts of oral, written and multimodal media, and ensure teachers can introduce higher-order thinking strategies through critical and analytical tasks appropriate for children in the pre-school and early years of primary school.

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 - Research and analyse the components of oral language, the interdependence of talking, listening, reading, and writing, and the foundational role of oral language in reading and writing, and apply this knowledge to the design of learning activities for promoting oral language, reading and writing (GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8, GA9; APST 1.1, 1.2, 2.1, 2.5; ACECQA A2, A8, B1, B2, B4, C2, C4, E2)

LO2 - Research and analyse children’s language and literacy development and the influence of cultural and linguistic backgrounds, and demonstrate knowledge of effective differentiation strategies to support learners with diverse needs such as linguistic and cultural differences (including EALD and Indigenous learners), trauma backgrounds, and literacy difficulties (GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8, GA9; APST 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 1.5, 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.5, 4.1; ACECQA A6, B2, B4, B5, C5, C6, D3, D4, D5, E2)

LO3 - Apply language and literacy content, pedagogical, and assessment knowledge to planning, teaching and assessing children’s composition and comprehension of oral and written language, whilst incorporating ethical digital technologies (GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8, GA9, GA10; APST 1.1, 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.5, 2.6, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4, 3.5, 4.1, 4.2, 4.5, 5.1, 5.4; ACECQA B1, B2, B4, B9, C3, C4, C5, C6)

LO4 - Apply knowledge of the Australian Curriculum: English and state-based curriculum documents to the design of learning activities that support the curriculum outcomes (GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8, GA9; APST 2.1, 2.3; ACECQA B1, B2, B9)

LO5 - Identify and critique relevant and appropriate sources of professional learning to broaden professional learning to improve student outcomes (GA4, GA5, GA8; APST 6.2, 6.4, 7.4) 

Graduate attributes

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 

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

GA10 - Utilise information and communication and other relevant technologies effectively


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.

1.3 Demonstrate knowledge of teaching strategies that are responsive to the learning strengths and needs of students from diverse linguistic, cultural, religious and socioeconomic backgrounds.

1.4 Demonstrate broad knowledge and understanding of the impact of culture, cultural identity and linguistic background on the education of students from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander backgrounds.

1.5 Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of strategies for differentiating teaching to meet the specific learning needs of students across the full range of abilities. 

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

2.2 Organise content into an effective learning and teaching sequence.

2.3 Use curriculum, assessment and reporting knowledge to design learning sequences and lesson plans.

2.5 Know and understand literacy and numeracy teaching strategies and their application in teaching areas.

2.6 Implement teaching strategies for using ICT to expand curriculum learning opportunities for students.

3.2 Plan lesson sequences using knowledge of student learning, content and effective teaching strategies.

3.3 Include a range of teaching strategies.

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

3.5 Demonstrate a range of verbal and non-verbal communication strategies to support student engagement.

4.1 Identify strategies to support inclusive student participation and engagement in classroom activities.

4.2 Demonstrate the capacity to organise classroom activities and provide clear directions.

4.5 Demonstrate an understanding of the relevant issues and the strategies available to support the safe, responsible and ethical use of ICT in learning and teaching.

5.1 Demonstrate understanding of assessment strategies, including informal and formal, diagnostic, formative and summative approaches to assess student learning.

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

6.2  Understand the relevant and appropriate sources of professional learning for teachers.

6.4  Demonstrate an understanding of the rationale for continued professional learning and the implications for improved student learnings. 

7.4 Understand the role of external professionals and community representatives in broadening teachers’ professional knowledge and 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

A6. Diversity, difference and inclusivity

A8. Transition and continuity of learning (including transition to school)

B. Education and curriculum studies

B1. Early Years Learning Framework

B2. The Australian Curriculum

B4.  Language and literacy

B5. English as a second language

B9.  Curriculum planning, programming and evaluation

C. Teaching pedagogies

C2. Play-based pedagogies

C3. guiding behaviour/engaging young learners

C4. Teaching methods and strategies

C5.  Children with diverse needs and backgrounds

C6.  Working with children who speak languages other than English, or in addition to, English

D. Family and community contexts

D3. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives

D4. Socially inclusive practice

D5.  Culture, diversity and inclusion

E. History and philosophy of early childhood

E2. contemporary theories and practice


Topics will include:

Subject content knowledge: Knowledge about the curriculum

  • The F- 2 English curriculum: Language, Literature and Literacy strands.
  • Understanding Language: components of language (semantics, syntactics, morphology, phonology and pragmatics), oral language demands in the F-2 English curriculum and the role of oral language in reading and writing.
  • Understanding and applying Literature: Evaluating a range of text types and multimodal texts for developing language and literacy
  • Understanding Literacy: The development of and processes involved in listening, speaking, reading, writing, viewing and creating, and associated theories

Content and Pedagogical knowledge and skills for teaching and assessment of Reading/Listening/Speaking/Viewing:

  • Understanding how children learn to read Birth - 8: children’s reading behaviours and development.
  • Understanding the reading process: Models of reading (e.g., gradual release of responsibility; the simple view of reading; four resources mode
  • Critical elements of reading instruction – The Big Five:

Phonemic Awareness, Phonics, Reading Fluency, Vocabulary, Text Comprehension 

  • The Reading/Viewing demands in the F-2 curriculum.
  • Planning reading instruction with reference to the curriculum
  • Formative and summative assessment of Reading/Viewing/ Listening/ Speaking

Content and Pedagogical knowledge and skills for teaching and assessment of Writing and Creating:

  • Understanding written texts: grammatical differences between speech and writing
  • Text types: social purpose, structure, and language features
  • Understanding how children learn to write: Children’s writing development Birth - 8
  • The Writing/Creating demands in the F-2 curriculum.
  • Using the gradual release of responsibility for teaching writing
  • Formative and summative assessment of writing and creating

Professional Knowledge and Skills:

  • Understanding and using the National Literacy Learning Progressions and relevant national or state curricula for teaching, assessing and reporting.
  • Teaching and learning strategies for engagement and inclusion of EAL/D, Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander, gifted and talented students
  • Understanding the impact of culture, cultural identity and diversity in schooling and the needs of multicultural students in literacy acquisition and development
  • Strategies to involve parents/carers in the reading process to support literacy development
  • Strategies to interpret student assessment data to evaluate student learning and modify teaching practice
  • Strategies for including ICT in the language and literacy framework of the classroom.

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

Teaching and learning in this unit is based on a Social Constructivist approach (Vygotsky, 1978), which emphasises the critical importance of the cultural and social aspects of learning. Learning will be scaffolded through both explicit instruction and opportunities to engage in a range of interpersonal activities in workshops, lectures and tutorials to enable students to learn from and with each other as active co-constructors of meaning, skills and understanding. This approach is highly effective for the teaching of literacy in the early years and primary classrooms. Learning will be supported by online activities and a range of current research delivered in the form of directed reading, reflection, discussion, webinars, podcasts and other multimedia options. The on-campus learning experiences are supported by online learning strategies, including synchronous and/or asynchronous digital engagement in reading/library tasks, learning activities, and discussion forums as mediated through the Learning Management System unit site.

Technology Enhanced Learning

Technology will be used to enhance teaching and learning, as well as in assessment, as a means of communication, production and feedback. Students will be required to create digital artefacts and interact with the unit’s Learning Management System site, online resources and technology requirements.  

On-campus/Online Learning support

Students enrolled in both on-campus and online learning modes are required to regularly log into the Learning Management Systems to access recorded lectures and important announcements, to communicate with other students and lecturers, and to submit assessments and access feedback and grades. Students who are enrolled in either on-campus or online learning will have equal access to support from the lecturer in charge and tutors.

Additional equipment requirements for online learning:

  • Reliable broadband access is recommended.
  • Headset with microphone to listen to podcasts, view videos and interact in synchronous classes.

ACU Online

This unit uses an active learning approach to support students in the exploration of knowledge essential to the discipline. Students are provided with choice and variety in how they learn. Students are encouraged to contribute to asynchronous weekly discussions. Active learning opportunities provide students with opportunities to practice and apply their learning in situations similar to their future professions. Activities encourage students to bring their own examples to demonstrate understanding, application and engage constructively with their peers. Students receive regular and timely feedback on their learning, which includes information on their progress.

Assessment strategy and rationale

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

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.

Assessment 1 develops pre-service teachers’ understanding of oral language development for children’s literacy, through research and the preparation of teaching resources. Assessment 2 allows pre-service teachers to demonstrate literacy content and pedagogical knowledge in the design of learning and assessment sequences. Assessment 3 develops understanding of the specific literacy needs of learners from EAL/D backgrounds, through analysis of a specific case study.

 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, students are required to submit 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 Report

Pre-service teachers:

(1) research and discuss the importance of developing oral language for children’s literacy and intellectual development;

(2) select a high-quality children’s picture book for use in the classroom to develop oral language for students in either Foundation year OR year 2 classrooms and justify their selection with reference to the language and visual features of the book;

(3) prepare a book orientation script for introducing the book and preparing students for the reading interaction and

(4) prepare a set of six questions (2 questions at each of the 3 levels of comprehension) to assess students’ comprehension of the text attending to meanings made by both written language and visual images

(5) identify professional organisations and professional learning opportunities to improve knowledge and practice and develop a rationale for ongoing professional learning and the implications for student learning.


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4, LO5

GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8, GA9, GA10

Assessment Task 2: Sequential Lesson Plan Development

Pre-service teachers explain, create and apply understanding of the Gradual Release of Responsibility model (or similar) for planning 4 lessons that are sequential – Two lessons for supporting Reading development and 2 lessons for supporting Writing development in the early years. Reference quality literature and based on the Australian Curriculum or relevant state-based curriculum content.  Effective strategies for differentiation must be included as well as appropriate assessment strategies in each lesson.


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4

GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8, GA9, GA10

Assessment Task 3: Case Study

Pre-service teachers analyse the literacy needs of a case study child with English as an additional language or dialect (EAL/D) in Foundation year, Year 1 OR Year 2.

Pre-service teachers should:

(1) Develop and apply a list of assessment criteria to assess K-2 EAL/D children’s writing samples

(2) Write a summary to report the students’ achievement against the EAL/D Learning Progression

(3) Write constructive feedback to the children and suggest how they could improve their writing. 

(4) Propose differentiation strategies for supporting the children’s writing development supported by justification from scholarly sources and curriculum documents.

(5) Identify professional organisations and professional learning opportunities to improve knowledge and practice of how to teach learners from EAL/D backgrounds. Develop a rationale for ongoing professional learning and the implications for EAL/D student learning.


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4, LO5

GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8, GA9

Representative texts and references

Required text(s)

The Australian Curriculum: English.

National Literacy Learning Progressions:

Thomas, D. & Thomas, A. (Eds.) (2022). Teaching and learning primary English. Oxford University Press.

Hill, S. (2021). Developing early literacy: Assessment and teaching (3rd ed). Eleanor Curtin Publishing.

Recommended references

Blevins, W. (2016). A fresh look at phonics, grades K-2: Common causes of failure and 7 ingredients for success. Corwin Literacy:

Cox, R., Feez, S., & Beveridge, L. (2019). The alphabetic principle and beyond: Surveying the landscape. Primary English Teaching Association Australia (PETAA).

Derewianka, B. (2020). Exploring how texts work (2nd ed.). Primary English Teaching Association (Australia) (PETAA).

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

Fisher, D., Frey, N., & Akhavan, N. (2019). This is balanced literacy: Grades K-6. Corwin Literacy

Frey, N., & Fisher. D. (2013). Rigorous reading: 5 access points for comprehending complex texts. Corwin Literacy.

Gambrell, L. B., & Morrow, L. M. (2019). Best practices in literacy instruction (6th ed.). Guilford Press.

Kamhi, A.G., & Catts, H.W. (2014). Language and reading disabilities (3rd ed.). Pearson.

Parkin, B., & Harper, H. (2019). Teaching with intent 2. Primary English Teaching Association Australia (PETAA).

Seely Flint, A., Kitson, L., Lowe.K., Shaw. K., Vicars, M., Feez, S., & Humphrey, S. (2020). Literacy in Australia: Pedagogies for engagement (3rd ed.). Wiley.

Tomkins, G; Smith, C; Campbell, R., & Green, D. (2019). Literacy for the 21st century: A balanced approach (3rd ed.). Pearson.

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

Woods, A., & Exley, B. (2020). Literacies in early childhood: Foundations for equity and quality. Oxford University Press.

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