National Literacy Learning Progression

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Listening description

This sub-element describes how a student becomes increasingly proficient at building meaning from a variety of spoken and audio texts. It includes active listening processes to access and understand the increasingly sophisticated language structures of spoken texts for audiences and purposes specific to learning area requirements.

This sub-element is closely related to the sub-elements of Speaking, Listening, Interacting and Phonological awareness.

Some students will communicate using augmentative and alternative communication strategies to demonstrate their literacy skills. This may include digital technologies, sign language, braille, real objects, photographs and pictographs.

Each sub-element level has been identified by upper-case initials and in some cases lower-case letters of the sub-element name followed by ascending numbers. The abbreviation for this sub-element is LiS. The listing of indicators within each level is non-hierarchical. Subheadings have been included to group related indicators. Where appropriate, examples have been provided in brackets following an indicator.


  • distinguishes between sounds made with instruments
  • distinguishes between sounds in the environment 


  • responds to spoken texts (uses facial expressions, movements, turns towards the speaker)
  • responds to short phrases relying on key words, tone of voice and intonation
  • follows a simple command
  • recognises and generates one-syllable rhyming words (see Phonological awareness)
  • repeats familiar words heard in a text or conversation


  • listens actively to short texts consisting of a few sentences
  • recalls one or two ideas
  • responds to simple statements, commands or questions
  • uses a small range of listening strategies (asking what, when, why questions about a text they have listened to)
  • discriminates individual words in a short, spoken sentence
  • identifies familiar objects and actions heard in a text (the chicken ate the bug)


  • responds to simple and predictable texts (see Text complexity)
  • recalls specific information from a spoken text (recalls a message from a school assembly announcement)
  • responds to literal questions about a spoken text
  • experiments with a small range of listening strategies (asks speaker to repeat information, if unclear)
  • uses learnt vocabulary and simple adjectives to recount key ideas from a text they have heard



  • listens to texts to engage with learning area content
  • recalls specific information from a learning area text
  • attends to sequence when recounting ideas
  • listens to a familiar story and retells, making minor adaptations if needed
  • selects appropriate listening strategies (asking questions to elicit extra information, rephrasing others’ contribution to check own comprehension)
  • uses cohesive vocabulary to support comprehension (listens for temporal connectives such as first, then, finally and conjunctions such as also) to identify next section in text


  • responds to texts with unfamiliar content
  • identifies main ideas of a spoken text using supporting details
  • identifies purpose and intended audience of a spoken text
  • infers meaning from texts that contain features such as music and environmental sounds
  • asks relevant questions to extend understanding
  • discusses language and audio features of the text


  • responds to moderately complex and sophisticated texts (see Text complexity)
  • identifies and analyses how spoken language is used for different effects (identifies the use of intonation, pausing, rhythm and phrasing to give emphasis and weight to ideas)
  • selects appropriate listening strategies for planned and unplanned situations (records and organises information from a text in a table or with detailed notes)
  • identifies how vocabulary is used to impact on the target audience


  • identifies and paraphrases key points of a speaker’s arguments
  • discusses their own and others’ listening behaviours
  • evaluates strategies used by the speaker to elicit emotional responses
  • identifies any shifts in direction, line of argument or purpose made by the speaker
  • adopts and re-uses complex abstractions heard in texts
  • identifies how speakers’ language can be inclusive or alienating (a speaker using language which is only readily understood by certain user groups such as teenagers or people involved in particular pastimes)