Literacy across the curriculum

Literacy presents those aspects of the Language and Literacy strands of the English curriculum that should also be applied in all other learning areas. It is not a separate component of the Western Australian Curriculum and does not contain new content. In some instances in the Literacy learning continuum, examples or more explanation have been included to show how aspects of the Language and Literacy strands of the English curriculum function in other learning areas.

While much of the explicit teaching of literacy occurs in the English learning area, it is strengthened, made specific and extended in other learning areas as students engage in a range of learning activities with significant literacy demands. These literacy-rich situations are a part of learning in all curriculum areas. Paying attention to the literacy demands of each learning area ensures that students' literacy development is strengthened so that it supports subject-based learning. This means that:

  • all teachers are responsible for teaching the subject-specific literacy of their learning area
  • all teachers need a clear understanding of the literacy demands and opportunities of their learning area
  • literacy appropriate to each learning area can be embedded in the teaching of the content and processes of that learning area.

The Literacy continuum will enable learning area teachers to:

  • identify the general level of expected language and literacy skills for each year level that they are teaching
  • plan how to teach specific language and literacy knowledge and skills essential to students' understanding of learning area content.

For students who speak a language or dialect other than Standard Australian English at home, access to language and literacy development is especially important. EAL/D students learn English at the same time as they are learning the content of each learning area through English. For many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, their home language is a dialect of English such as Aboriginal English. This means that they learn the English of the school context and of the curriculum as a second dialect. It is important to acknowledge the home language, prior knowledge and experiences of these students, and to build on these in developing students' literacy capabilities in the curriculum. The English as an Additional Language or Dialect: Teacher Resource can be used in conjunction with the Literacy general capability to assist teachers in meeting the language-learning needs of these students.

Some students move slowly between levels or may remain at one level of the learning continuum throughout their schooling. The Literacy learning continuum enables teachers to plan for the teaching of targeted literacy skills through age-equivalent learning area content. The elements of Comprehending and Composing represent the overarching processes of receptive and expressive language and can apply to students at any point in their schooling. The beginning of the learning sequence for these two elements has been extended by an additional four levels (Levels 1a to 1d) to describe in particular the development of communication skills. For more detailed advice on using the Literacy continuum to personalise learning go to Student Diversity.

The Literacy capability is addressed through the learning areas and is identified wherever it is developed or applied in content descriptions. It is also identified where it offers opportunities to add depth and richness to student learning in content elaborations. An icon indicates where Literacy has been identified in learning area content descriptions and elaborations. A filter function on the Western Australian Curriculum website assists users to find where Literacy has been identified in P–10 curriculum content. Teachers may find further opportunities to incorporate explicit teaching of Literacy depending on their choice of activities and the individual learning needs of their students. Students can also be encouraged to develop capability through personally relevant initiatives of their own design.