How is the literacy progression structured?

Elements and sub-elements

The National Literacy Learning Progression has three elements that reflect aspects of literacy development necessary for successful learners of the F–10 Australian Curriculum and in everyday life. The three elements, which align with the modes of language use, are:

  • Speaking and listening
  • Reading and viewing
  • Writing.

Each element includes sub-elements that represent evidence-based aspects of literacy development. The progression comprises five overarching sub-elements: Listening, Interacting, Speaking, Understanding texts and Creating texts. These five sub-elements provide a holistic view of literacy capability and are supported by the detail given in the remaining sub-elements. For example, in Reading and viewing, the sub-elements of Fluency, Phonic knowledge and word recognition and Phonological awareness detail skills that underpin the sub-element of Understanding texts. Due to its importance in literacy development, vocabulary is included within and across sub-elements.

The diagram (Figure 1) represents the elements and sub-elements in relation to the literacy development of the student. The sub-elements that are holistic are shown in bold text.


Figure 1. Elements and sub-elements of the National Literacy Learning Progression

Levels and indicators

Within each sub-element indicators are grouped together to form developmental levels. Each indicator describes what a student says, does or produces and begins with the implicit stem ‘A student …’ as the subject of the sentence.

There are as many levels within each sub-element as can be supported by evidence. The listing of indicators within a level is non-hierarchical. Each level within a sub-element has one or more indicators and is more sophisticated or complex than the preceding level. The levels within each sub-element are named with a letter and number code that indicates the abbreviated name of the sub-element and the developmental level, in number order. SpK4 indicates the sub-element of speaking at level 4.

In many of the sub-elements, subheadings have been included to assist teachers by grouping indicators into particular categories of skills that develop over a number of levels.

The amount of time it takes students to progress through each level is not specified since students progress in literacy development at different rates.

The levels do not describe equal intervals of time in students’ learning. They are designed to indicate the order in which students acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to be literate. As learning is very rapid in the early years of school, the initial levels tend to be more detailed than the later levels.

Moreover, the amount of detail in any level or sub-element is not an indication of importance. A single indicator at a more sophisticated level in the progression may rely on a substantial number of indicators being evident in earlier levels. The diagram (Figure 2) shows the various components included in the progression.

Figure 2. Annotated example of a literacy sub-element