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Early language and literacy domains

Language and literacy objectives for children’s learning and corresponding strategies that library staff as educators can use to support this learning.

Foundational early literacy skills, which are essential for learning to read and write, include: phonological awareness, alphabet and letter knowledge, concepts of print, oral language and vocabulary, background knowledge and print motivation. 

Each section below focuses on a specific early language and literacy domain, and is organised according to age.

Phonological awareness

The ability to identify, analyse and manipulate the auditory aspects of spoken language.

Alphabet and letter knowledge

Knowing the names of the letters of the alphabet and their corresponding sounds. 

Concepts of print

Understanding how books and print function and the ability to distinguish print from images.

Oral language and vocabulary

Knowledge of words and ability to use them and other features of oral language to communicate effectively in different situations.

Background knowledge

Knowledge of the physical, biological and social world and human experience in it.

Print motivation

The willingness to engage in literacy practices that involve print such as reading and writing.


Learning Objectives for Children and the Educator Strategies to Support Children’s Learning overlap, especially in relation to the youngest children. Although the framework is organised according to age, many of the teaching strategies are similar across the age ranges and are relevant to all situations (for example, to model and demonstrate enthusiasm for books and pleasure in reading). The framework has been designed specifically for use in libraries, where the size and composition of the literacy sessions are unknown in advance. For this reason, it is not possible to provide detailed learning objectives and teaching/educator strategies for adult-child interaction.

The term strategies refers both to specific approaches and broad practices you may employ in order to help children achieve different language and literacy learning objectives.