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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 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 (Foundation 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. Literacy planning, teaching and assessment practices will be based on current literacy research which supports the literacy learning process for diverse learners. Underpinning the learning in the 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 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 - select and apply various theoretical models and approaches to literacy and language learning with particular application to the early primary years and the interdependence of talking, listening, reading, writing and viewing to inform understanding of current issues and debates (i.e. the teaching of phonics and phonemic awareness) (GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9; APST 1.1, 1.2, 1.5, 2.1)

LO2 - apply knowledge of the importance of oral language development and pedagogies used to enhance expressive and receptive language skills (GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9; APST 1.1, 1.2, 1.5, 2.1)

LO3 - apply and analyse effective pedagogy for children with linguistic and cultural differences, trauma backgrounds and literacy difficulties to differentiate teaching practices and resources to effectively support diverse learners’ literacy attainment (GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9; APST 1.2, 1.3, 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.5, 3.2, 3.3, 3.5, 4.1, 5.1)

LO4 - identify and apply a range of multimodal texts for their suitability in the teaching of literacy using a proven literacy teaching model such as the Gradual Release of Responsibility model for students in the early years of primary schooling (GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9; APST 1.2, 1.5, 2.1)

LO5 - apply content, pedagogical and assessment knowledge and incorporate ethical digital technologies to justify decisions for planning, teaching and assessing the achievement of young learners’ composing and comprehending of language in its various forms (GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9, GA10; APST 1.2, 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, 5.3, 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 

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.

1.5 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.

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

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


Topics will include:

Module 1: Subject content knowledge: Knowledge about the curriculum

  • The K-2 English curriculum: Language, Literature and Literacy strands.
  • Understanding Language: components of language (semantics, syntactics, pragmatics and grapho-phonics), oral language demands in the K-2 English curriculum and the role of early and emergent oral language in literacy learning.
  • Understanding and applying Literature: Investigate a range of text types and multimodal texts to understand and apply literacy using a wide range of age appropriate literature
  • Understanding Literacy: The theories and processes of early and emergent reading and writing development, spelling, handwriting, listening, speaking and the implications for practice

Module 2: Content and Pedagogical knowledge and skills for teaching and assessment of Reading/Listening/Viewing (Receptive skills):

  • Understanding reading: The Reading process (before, during, after); Four cueing systems (semantics, syntactics, pragmatics and grapho-phonics); Four roles of the reader (Code-breaker, Meaning Maker, Text participant, Text Analyst); Three levels of comprehension.
  • Understanding how children learn to read: children’s reading behaviours and development.
  • The Reading/Viewing demands in the K-2 curriculum.


  • The Gradual Release of Responsibility model in teaching reading: Modelled, Shared, Guided and Independent Reading.
  • Teaching Code-breaking (Phonics and Phonemic Awareness), Reading Fluency and Comprehension: critical literacy strategies and critical activities.
  • Planning an activity sequence: Modelled-Guided-Independent activities


  • Formative and summative Reading/Viewing assessment: Miscue analysis and running records, and effective authentic Reading/Viewing assessment activities, International Phonetics Alphabet (IPA).

Module 3: Content and Pedagogical knowledge and skills for teaching and assessment of Writing/Creating/Speaking (Expressive skills):

  • Understanding written texts: grammatical differences between speech and writing and genres in the early years
  • Understanding how children learn to write: Children’s writing development
  • The Writing/Creating demands in the K-2 curriculum.


  • The mentor text approach to teaching writing: The Teaching and Learning Cycle
  • Teaching, modelling and text deconstruction of text types to teach grammar, spelling, punctuation, hand-writing and key-boarding

Assessment and reporting:

  • Types of assessment
  • Assessment tools in the Early Years
  • Reporting tools for the Early Years
  • Data analysis, interpretation and evaluation methods in the Early Years

Professional Knowledge and Skills throughout the three modules:

  • Understanding and using the National Literacy Learning Progressions and relevant national or state curricula for teaching, assessing and reporting.
  • EAL/D, Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander, gifted and talented learners
  • Understanding the impact of culture, cultural identity and diversity is schooling and the needs of multicultural students in literacy acquisition and development
  • Strategies for involving parents/carers in the reading process to support literacy development
  • Planning, organising and implementing the Literacy Block (eg groups, rotations, levelled resources, monitoring etc.

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

Teaching and learning in this unit is based on a Social Constructivist approach 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 meaning, skills and understanding. This approach is highly effective for the teaching of literacy in the primary classroom. 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 LEO (Learning Environment Online) unit site.

Assessment strategy and rationale

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. (

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 unit focuses 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.

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 submit all assessment tasks, complete weekly readings and activities.

The first assessment task is a small group activity that focuses on the importance of oral language. Students create and present a digital resource on the importance of oral language development and how current issues such as the phonics debate, bias and stereotyping can affect effective literacy teaching. 

The second task requires students to draw on previous professional experience and create a case study scenario on a child who has a background in EAL/D, may be Indigenous and may also have experienced trauma. Pre-service teachers can then create three differentiated learning and teaching activities, resources and accompanying assessments to address the literacy needs of their case study child.

The final assessment task requires pre-service teachers to write an informed justification for their decisions involved in creating two reading and writing lesson plans, using an effective literacy teaching model such as the Gradual Release of Responsibility model.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Assessment Task 1: Report

In groups, pre-service teachers research and justify the importance of oral language development, and the interdependence of talking, listening, reading, writing and viewing as a foundation to enhance expressive and receptive skills based on current literacy theory.

Create and present a digital resource and its curriculum connections on oral language development that is responsive to current issues such as teaching of phonics, bias and stereotyping to inform understanding of best practice teaching methods used to enhance receptive skills in the primary classroom (talking, listening, viewing).


LO1, LO2

GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9

Assessment Task 2:

Case Study

Pre-service teachers generate a case study drawn from professional experience on a learner from a socio-culturally and linguistically diverse group and describe their needs in terms of Receptive Literacy skills (i.e. Listening, Reading/Viewing) or Expressive/Productive Literacy (i.e. Speaking, reading, viewing.) Based on the assessment outcomes of their work samples, propose high challenge/high support differentiated strategies to cater for the student’s needs in a mainstream classroom context, using relevant technologies and teacher’s resources


LO3, LO5

GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9

Assessment Task 3: (CTITE 4)

Sequential Lesson Plan Development

Pre-service teachers justify, create and apply understanding of the Gradual Release of Responsibility model or similar for planning, teaching and assessing 2 reading and writing lessons that are sequential and relevant in the early primary years of schooling through the use of quality multimodal texts based on the Australian Curriculum, National Learning Progressions or relevant state-based curriculum document. 


LO4, LO5

GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9, GA10

Representative texts and references

Recommended references

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

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

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

Exley,B & Kervin, L. (2013). Playing with Grammar in the Early years: learning about language in the Australian Curriculum English. Norwood, SA: Australian Literacy Educators Association.

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

Frey, N., & Fisher. D. (2012) Rigorous Reading: 5 Access points for comprehending complex texts. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Literacy.

Opitz, M. & Zbaracki, M. (2004) Listen Hear! 25 Effective Listening Comprehension Strategies. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

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

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

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

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