Literacy K-12

Describes the objectives for ability, skills and competence of students, incorporating specific teaching practices and programs; and requirements for evaluation of effectiveness and responsibilities for K-12 teachers in reporting to parents, caregivers and communities.

Changes since previous version

2020 Jun 29 – updated contact details and made minor changes to style guide.

Document history

Policy contacts and delegations revised.

Superseded documents

Focus on literacy: A position paper on the teaching of literacy 1997.

  1. Policy statement
    1. Literacy
      1. Literacy is the ability to understand and evaluate meaning through reading and writing, listening and speaking, viewing and representing.
      2. Literacy skills need to continually expand and diversify because our rapidly changing social and economic environment requires competence in a range of new communication forms and media.
      3. Literacy competence is central to achievement in all areas of learning as students progress through the early, middle and later years of schooling and into the workforce and personal life.
    2. Literacy teaching
      1. Literacy teaching in NSW schools will incorporate explicit and systematic instruction in the skills, knowledge and understandings required for students to be literate. Literacy will be taught in a balanced and integrated way.
      2. In the early years, literacy teaching will include the explicit teaching of phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary knowledge, comprehension, concepts about print, grammar, punctuation, spelling and handwriting.
      3. Literacy teaching will draw on the strengths of a comprehensive range of evidence and research-based approaches to meet the learning needs of all students.
      4. Teachers will ensure students are equipped with a range of literacy practices and skills that support them in code-breaking and in understanding, using, analysing and evaluating texts for a variety of purposes and audiences.
      5. Teachers K-12 will develop and continually refine a broad and responsive set of effective literacy teaching practices to meet the diverse learning needs of students.
      6. Teachers K-12, across all key learning areas, are responsible for the teaching and learning of literacy skills, knowledge and understandings.
      7. Teachers K-12 will allocate sufficient time to explicitly plan, program and teach literacy to ensure students’ achievement of syllabus standards.
    3. Literacy assessing and reporting
      1. Teachers K-12 will use school-based and statewide literacy assessment information to inform teaching and to regularly evaluate the effectiveness of teaching programs.
      2. Schools will report formally and informally to parents, caregivers and school communities on student literacy achievement using statewide and school-based assessment information.
  2. Audience and applicability
    1. This policy applies to all teachers, schools, regions and directorates of the NSW Department of Education.
  3. Context
    1. Initiation of this policy occurred under the Office of Schools Plan 2006-2008 and the State Literacy Plan 2006-2008.
    2. Under the Office of Schools Plan 2009-2011, school plans will identify:
      • literacy targets that reflect system-wide targets, including those for Aboriginal students
      • strategies including the professional learning necessary to achieve school literacy targets.
    3. This policy should be used in conjunction with:
  4. Responsibilities and delegations
    1. The Director, Literacy and Numeracy as policy owner is responsible for:
      • publication and currency of the policy and support material
      • notification to staff of any changes to this policy.
    2. Policy contact person, Leader, Professional Learning, Literacy and Numeracy is responsible for:
      • provision of advice on the interpretation and implementation of the policy
      • monitoring, evaluating, reviewing and reporting on the implementation of this policy.
    3. Users are responsible for:
  5. Monitoring and review
    1. The Director, Early Learning and Primary Education and the Director, Secondary Education will monitor the implementation of this policy and will report, as required, to the Executive.
    2. Principals are responsible for the implementation and monitoring of this policy in their schools.
    3. Directors, educational leadership will support principals with the implementation of this policy.
    4. Principals, school executive and delegated teachers will supervise the implementation of the policy in schools and report to their school education directors.
  6. Contact
    Director, Literacy and Numeracy
    02 7814 2353

    Leader, Professional Learning, Literacy and Numeracy
    02 7814 2684

Implementation documents

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