Department of Education

English as an Additional Language or Dialect


Aboriginal Literacy Strategy

The Aboriginal Literacy Strategy (ALS) was first introduced as a systemic literacy initiative to assist all the Remote Teaching Service (RTS) schools in Western Australia. The strategy commenced in 2005 and since this time other non RTS schools have used this literacy strategy. The ALS focuses on consistent and sustainable pedagogy over time despite constant changes to school personnel.

The Literacy Session is based on the work of P.W. Hill & C.A. Crevola and the Department’s ABC of Two-Way Literacy and Learning project and takes a scaffolded approach to English language and literacy learning.

Instructional practices utilised in each component reflect evidence-based planning, careful text selection and explicit EAL/D instruction. Two key features of the strategy involve embedding two-way learning throughout the session and implementing a gradual release model of instruction, by incorporating modelling, sharing, guiding and independent practice to develop students’ English language and literacy skills.

The Aboriginal Literacy Strategy sessions are comprised of two models, one for Primary and one for Secondary literacy groups.

Instructional Aboriginal Literacy Strategies are also available.

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Key Program Features

Unrelenting focus on quality English language and literacy instruction

  • Principals as instructional leaders – taking the lead in knowing what the language and literacy outcomes are about and what effective language and literacy teaching looks like.
  • Whole-school planning to systematically address students’ identified literacy needs through whole-class, small group and individualised instruction.
  • Students are provided with opportunities to develop a sense of control of SAE through the active use of, and reflection about, Home Language and Standard Australian English in a wide range of communicative activities.

Evidence based planning and teaching

  • Systematic collection and analysis of evidence of students’ development in reading, writing, speaking and listening and viewing with a focus on Standard Australian English language and literacy acquisition.
  • Explicit teaching using a range of instructional strategies based on students’ needs, targeting groups and individuals for specific and relevant instruction.
  • Use of the EAL/D Progress Map for data gathering and to assist analysis of student learning needs and /or planning, monitoring and reporting.
  • Ongoing assessment, monitoring and reporting of student progress
  • Systematic reviewing, adjusting and re-planning to facilitate further progress.
  • Use of ABC of Two-Way Literacy and Learning, EAL/D and First Steps resources.

Consistency and sustainability

  • Whole school program in which the principal’s leadership is pivotal.
  • Program consistency despite constant changes to school personnel, high levels of transiency among students and low rates of school attendance.
  • Established routines, activities, patterns of classroom organisation and instructional strategies that are known to support effective additional language/dialect and literacy learning.
  • All stakeholders (Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal staff, community, students) involved and informed, accepting and supportive of the learning program.

Valuing and broadening students’ linguistic and cultural repertoire

  • Students’ Home Language and culture are recognised, valued and used in the learning of Standard Australian English.
  • Students are treated as individuals with their own backgrounds, needs and interests.
  • Students have opportunities to demonstrate and build on their own linguistic and cultural knowledge.
  • Tasks and activities are linguistically and culturally appropriate with opportunities to hear language that is comprehensible to students – moving from the known to the unknown.
  • Opportunities are provided to focus on, talk about, purposefully practice and reflect on Standard Australian English forms, skills, strategies and conceptualisations across a range of contexts.
  • A two-way approach to teaching and learning is embedded at, whole-school and class levels. There is on-going hands-on collaboration with Aboriginal people.
  • There is a deliberate focus on valuing Aboriginal English and on teaching the various aspects of SAE.
  • High but realistic expectations for all learners, ensuring that there is rigour in all Literacy Sessions. This is not a pared-back literacy program.


  • Improved English language and literacy outcomes for all students
  • School literacy program cohesion and effectiveness to be maintained despite constantly changing personnel


  • Not a moment wasted
  • Having a “why” for everything we do
  • Working Two-Way
  • Valuing Home Language and Dialect
  • Using an additive approach to additional language/dialect learning
Aboriginal Literacy Strategy

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