Credit points


Campus offering

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Unit rationale, description and aim

This unit provides pre-service teachers with a comprehensive, integrated overview of literacy learning with a particular focus on identification and diagnosis of learning difficulties in literacy. The unit integrates theory and research with practical application and provides strategies for diagnosing reading and writing difficulties with suggestions for supporting learners in improving their literacy. In turn, it provides the meaning and rationale for practical ideas and activities. Pre-service teachers will also look at assessment ‘of learning’, assessment ‘for learning’ and assessment ‘as learning’ as a framework for thinking about intervention in literacy learning.

This unit aims to provide pre-service teaches with a comprehensive, professional foundation to guide practice in literacy learning with a particular focus on identification and diagnosis of learning difficulties in literacy, by presentation of theory, research, and practical ideas.

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 - critically examine the current need for intervention and remediation in literacy. (GA4; APST 1.1, 1.2, 7.4)

LO2 - analyse the implications of various approaches to literature acquisition for primary school children. (GA5; APST 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 5.1, 7.4)

LO3 - demonstrate an understanding of a range of teaching strategies for assessing, analysing, developing, monitoring and programming for language and literacy development in early and continuing literacy throughout the primary years. (GA5; APST 1.3, 1.5, 2.5, 3.6, 4.1, 5.1, 5.4)

LO4 - develop pedagogical approaches for assessing and diagnosing reading and writing difficulties (GA4, GA5; APST 1.1, 2.5, 4.1, 5.1, 5.3, 5.4, 5.5, 7.4

LO5 - employ strategies for supporting learners in improving literacy in partnership with varied stakeholders.(GA8; APST 1.5, 2.5, 3.7, 4.2, 5.2, 5.3, 5.5, 7.3, 7.4).

Graduate attributes

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

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

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.

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.

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

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

3.6 Demonstrate broad knowledge of strategies that can be used to evaluate teaching programs to improve student learning.

3.7 Describe a broad range of strategies for involving parents/carers in the educative process.

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.

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

5.2 Demonstrate an understanding of the purpose of providing timely and appropriate feedback to students about their learning.

5.3 Demonstrate understanding of assessment moderation and its application to support consistent and comparable judgements of student learning.

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

5.5 Demonstrate understanding of a range of strategies for reporting to students and parents/carers and the purpose of keeping accurate and reliable records of student achievement.

7.3 Understand strategies for working effectively, sensitively and confidentially with parents/carers.

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


Topics include:

  • A review of the pedagogy of reading including a range of models/ strategies that explore assessment and diagnosis of literacy acquisition
  • The importance of the role of oral language in literacy development
  •  Overview of specific reading assessment tools, instruments and checklists for diagnosis of reading and writing difficulties
  • Examination of current need for diagnosis of learning difficulties in literacy
  • Critiquing assessment of learning; assessment for learning and assessment as learning
  • Exploration of a range of assessment practices and the teaching learning cycle.
  • Understanding the diversity of literacy needs of learners including those who speak English as an additional language.
  • Working collaboratively with specialist teachers and aides
  • The teaching of reading and writing, the impact of electronic media and use of technology in remediation of literacy learning

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

Pre-service teachers will be involved in a variety of teaching-learning strategies to progress and demonstrate their understandings in this unit. Participants will be involved in a variety of teaching-learning strategies to support learning, including: lectures, tutorials, workshops, self-guided tasks, web-based tasks and fieldwork.

Assessment strategy and rationale

The assessment tasks and their weightings are designed to allow pre-service teachers to progressively demonstrate achievement against the unit learning outcomes and demonstrate attainment of professional standards.

Minimum Achievement Standards

The assessment tasks for this unit are designed to demonstrate achievement of each learning outcome.

The total assessment tasks will amount to the equivalent of 4,000 words.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Assessment Task 1

Learner case study and portfolio


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4, LO5

GA4, GA5

Assessment Task 2:


Critique of standardised testing


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4

GA4, GA8

Representative texts and references

Relevant national, state and territory curriculum documents.

Barone, D. M., & Mallette, M. H. (Eds.). (2013). Best practices in early literacy instruction. New York: Guilford.

Emmitt, M., Zabaracki, M., Komesaroff, L., & Pollock, J. (2014). Language and learning: An introduction for teaching (6th ed.). South Melbourne, Vic: Oxford University Press.

Graham, S., MacArthur, C.A. & Fitzgerald, J. (Eds.). (2013). Best practices in writing instruction (2nd ed.). New York: Guilford.

Mandel Morrow, L. & Gambrell, L. B. (2011). Best practices in literacy instruction. (4th ed.). New York: Guilford.

McLachlan, C., Nicholson, T., Fielding-Barnsely, R., Mercer, L. & Ohi, S. (2013). Literacy in early childhood and primary education: Issues, challenges and solutions. Melbourne, Australia: Cambridge University Press.

Tomlinson, C. A. (2014). The differentiated classroom: Responding to the needs of all learners (2nd ed.). Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Tompkins, G. (2012). Teaching writing: Balancing process and product (6th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson.

Watson, S. (2007). Important steps to teaching reading for students with reading difficulties .

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