National Literacy Learning Progression

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Speaking description

This sub-element describes how a student becomes increasingly proficient at selecting language to express and share ideas, appropriate to audience, purpose and task – in planned speaking situations. This sub-element includes the development of skills and techniques to demonstrate understanding through fluent, coherent, cohesive speech – for audiences and purposes specific to learning areas. It is a progression of speaking about increasingly abstract and intellectual subject matter using more sophisticated competencies.

This sub-element is closely related to the sub-elements of 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 SpK. 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.


  • speaks in short phrases or simple sentences about familiar objects, people or events
  • expresses feelings and needs (I’m thirsty)
  • makes simple requests
  • indicates a preference when offered a choice (selects a fruit from a bowl)
  • use simple, appropriate personal greetings


  • uses a small range of familiar words
  • names common items from pictures or the environment


  • retells personal events and experiences to peers and known adults
  • shares feelings and thoughts (about the events and characters in text)
  • retells key details or points from a text viewed or heard
  • uses appropriate or mainly appropriate word order
  • uses appropriate volume for small audiences
  • uses rehearsed phrases to introduce themselves (Good morning, my
    name is …)


  • uses simple connectives to join ideas (and then) (see Grammar)
  • uses simple adjectives to describe (red, big) (see Grammar)
  • uses a small range of opinion adjectives (nice, good) (see Grammar)
  • uses simple language to compare and contrast (smaller, more)
  • uses common time and causal connectives to relate ideas (then, because) (see Grammar)


  • makes short presentations using a few connected sentences, on familiar and learnt topics (retells a familiar story or describes a process)
  • speaks audibly and clearly to a familiar audience (own class)
  • uses some extended sentences
  • organises key ideas in logical sequence
  • provides some supporting details
  • expresses causal relationships (when the egg cracked the chicken came out)
  • provides simple justifications (I chose cherries because they are red)
  • uses some varying intonation or volume for emphasis
  • regulates pace with pausing


  • uses some precise vocabulary from learning areas
  • uses connectives to sequence ideas (first, then, next, finally) (see Grammar)
  • uses vocabulary to express cause and effect (the excursion was cancelled because it rained)
  • uses some modal language to influence or persuade (should, will) (see Grammar)


  • delivers spoken texts for a range of purposes across learning areas (explains how the mathematics problem was solved)
  • uses complex sentence constructions including relative clauses (the boy who drew the picture got a prize) (see Grammar)
  • adjusts register to suit audience and purpose
  • elaborates on ideas using a short sequence of sentences
  • incorporates learnt content into spoken text
  • sequences ideas and events appropriately
  • uses mainly correct grammatical constructions (pronoun references; plurals)
  • varies volume and intonation to suit purpose and audience
  • plans and delivers spoken presentations using appropriate structure and language
  • includes multimodal enhancements to spoken texts, where appropriate (includes slides or pictures in a spoken presentation)


  • experiments with vocabulary drawn from a variety of sources
  • uses adverbials to give more precise meaning to verbs (talking loudly) (see Grammar)
  • uses a range of vocabulary to indicate connections (consequences)
  • uses conditional vocabulary to expand upon ideas (if Goldilocks ate all the porridge, the bears would be hungry)


  • delivers sustained spoken texts on a broad range of learning area topics
  • includes details and elaborations to expand ideas
  • uses connectives to signal a change in perspective (however, although, on the other hand) or to show causal relationships (due to, since) (see Grammar)
  • uses a range of expressions to introduce an alternative point of view (in my opinion, he did not agree with)
  • rehearses spoken text to accommodate time and technology
  • controls tone, volume, pitch and pace to suit content and audience
  • uses technologies or multimodal features to enhance spoken text (videos a spoken presentation with music, sound effect enhancements)


  • uses a broader range of more complex noun groups to expand description (protective, outer covering)
  • selects more specific and precise words to replace general words (uses difficult or challenging for hard)
  • uses some rhetorical devices (don’t you agree?)


  • speaks on a range of real or imagined topics that include ideas or concepts from learning areas
  • organises more complex ideas or concepts logically, selecting details to accentuate key points
  • speaks audibly and coherently to a less familiar audience for a sustained period
  • shows increasing awareness of audience by moderating length, content and delivery of spoken texts
  • uses register according to purpose and audience
  • researches to prepare spoken texts
  • uses a range of technology and multimodal resources to engage audience and enhance content


  • varies vocabulary to add interest and to describe with greater precision (uses topic-specific noun groups such as exploitation of resources) (see Grammar)
  • uses language creatively (the moon shines bravely)
  • uses sensory vocabulary to engage the audience (a gasp of dismay)
  • uses technical vocabulary to demonstrate topic knowledge (deforestation)
  • consistently uses a range of synonyms to add variety and precision to
    spoken text
  • uses abstractions (freedom, fairness)


  • speaks on topics which explore and interpret concepts drawn from research or learning area content
  • selects voice appropriate to purpose (third person to create distance and authority or first person to achieve personal connection)
  • uses ideas and language features appropriate to complex topics
  • controls a range of language features to affect the audience (uses modal language for emphasis)
  • rephrases or clarifies to repair meaning
  • uses language structures and features appropriate to learning area content
  • uses technologies and multimodal resources to enhance meaning and effect in presentations


  • selects vocabulary to intensify and sharpen the focus (scarcely, absolutely, real, simply)
  • uses a range of evaluative language to express opinions or convey emotion (significant benefits, devastating consequences)
  • uses a range of emotive language appropriate to topic, purpose and audience
  • uses rich, evocative descriptive language
  • uses figurative language (hungry for success)


  • speaks on topics which explore issues drawn from research or learning area content
  • includes a range of alternative viewpoints in spoken texts, where appropriate
  • controls and manipulates a sophisticated range of language features to affect the audience
  • uses a range of rhetorical devices and humour to engage the audience
  • references and quotes authorities or statistics to add authority (according to a recent OECD report)
  • delivers spoken text flexibly, allowing for questions and maintaining the flow of ideas