The University of Newcastle, Australia
Not currently offered
Course code



10 units


6000 level

Course handbook


This course is designed to introduce students to the concepts and principles of both language and literacy development and the relationship between the two.

The central purposes of this course are to enable students to understand the processes of language and literacy acquisition in hearing, deaf (D), and hard of hearing (HH) children. The emphasis is on how theoretical understandings of language and literacy development can underpin pedagogy and practice in both early learning (early intervention) and classroom environments with D/HH children. Specifically, the course will address:

- Fundamental concepts in regard to the structure and function of language;

- Theoretical frameworks for explaining first language acquisition (spoken and signed);

- Language development milestones, the stages in prelinguistic and linguistic development of language in children;

- Theoretical perspectives on the relationship between language and thought;

- Concepts and principles of literacy development; and;

- Synthesis of research on literacy as it relates to deaf and hard of hearing children and adolescents.


Not currently offered.

This Course was last offered in Semester 1 - 2018.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the course students will be able to:

1. Describe the typical development of language and communication in hearing children and the ways in which deafness/hearing loss impacts on that development;

2. Demonstrate an understanding of how speaking, listening, reading, writing & thinking are interrelated and developmental processes;

3. Describe the major theoretical perspectives on typical development of literacy and the ways in which deafness/hearing loss impacts on this development;

4. Demonstrate an understanding of the relevance and importance of research and a strong evidence-base to the teaching of language and literacy;

5. Explain how current research evidence on the key variables influencing development of deaf children's literacy can be used to provide both a broader theoretical understanding of language and literacy and a basis for practical intervention in those areas; and

6. Explain the importance of assessment as an ongoing component in the instructional process.


Topics will include:

  • The properties and components of language: Phonology, Syntax, Morphology, Semantics, and Pragmatics;
  • Describing language and language acquisition;
  • Theoretical perspectives on language acquisition;
  • Neurological, cognitive, perceptual and motor bases of language and communication development (the impact and implications of hearing loss);
  • Social and communicative bases of early language development (the impact and implications of hearing loss);
  • Early language learning and teaching: A first language (the impact and implications of hearing loss);
  • Preschool age development of language: Language milestones in syntax, semantics and pragmatics;
  • School-age language development and language delay (the impact and implications of hearing loss);
  • Overview of second language learning and bilingualism (including sign bilingualism);
  • Perspectives on reading: review of major literacy frameworks and models;
  • The development of literacy: Form, meaning, phonological and phonemic awareness;
  • Selective overview of research on reading and D/HH children and adolescents: Word identification, vocabulary, syntax, metacognition.


This course is only available to students enrolled in the Graduate Certificate in Educational Studies programs (11008 or 12365) or Master of Special Education programs (10936, 12356, or 40014).

Assumed knowledge

No prior knowledge assumed.

Assessment items

Quiz: On-line quiz: Topics 1-4

Case Study / Problem Based Learning: Case Scenario/PBL Exercises - Online HOT task/quiz and Personal Reflection.

Journal: Journal - Log of reading reactions