Key Learning Areas

Literacy and Numeracy

In all NSW schools teachers use syllabuses developed by the BOSTES (Board of Studies Teaching and Educational Standards).

The K-12 syllabuses are organised in stages.

Early Stage 1 Kindergarten
Stage 1 Years 1 and 2
Stage 2 Years 3 and 4
Stage 3 Years 5 and 6
Stage 4 Years 7 and 8
Stage 5 Years 9 and 10
Stage 6 Years 11 and 12

The following descriptions provide ‘snapshots’ of what students can typically do at the end of each of the Primary School stages.


Learning to read is a complex process. For children to read well, they need to develop a range of reading strategies. Reading and writing are closely connected. When children learn to read and write, they learn about how language is used for different purposes and different audiences.

Early Stage 1 and Stage 1 – In Kindergarten to Year 2 children learn gradually to:

  • understand that written text has meaning
  • read literary texts such as stories, and factual texts that give information such as procedures, e.g. recipes, instructions
  • recognise the letters of the alphabet and the sounds that they make
  • use terms associated with books, such as author, illustrator, cover, title, page, contents, index, glossary
  • predict what a text will be about using such things as cover, title, illustrations and photos
  • read their own writing to others
  • blend sounds to produce a word, e.g. `d-o-g’
  • break words into syllables, e.g. teach/er
  • recognise words, full stops, capital letters and spaces between words
  • recognise a number of sight words
  • use appropriate vocal pitch, intonation and pace when reading aloud
  • talk about illustrations and diagrams, and how these add to the meaning in texts
  • read silently for short periods of time.

Stage 2 – In Years 3 to 4 children learn gradually to:

  • read and retell a variety of texts read and/or viewed
  • use knowledge of letter patterns to read new texts
  • break words into syllables
  • `sound out’ unfamiliar words
  • correct mistakes in reading by pausing, rereading and/or reading on
  • prepare, rehearse and read aloud stories, poems and scripted drama
  • use appropriate pause and emphasis when reading aloud
  • read and retell literary texts such as stories, folktales, traditional and contemporary fairytales
  • adjust their reading strategies for different texts, e.g. read for pleasure, scan texts to find information
  • make comparisons between the ways information is presented in TV documentaries, news bulletins, encyclopedias and newsletters
  • explore character and gender stereotyping in texts
  • discuss point of view in texts
  • make comparisons between what they are reading and their own personal experiences
  • read silently for an extended period of time.

Stage 3 – In Years 5 to 6 children learn gradually to:

  • read aloud using appropriate pitch, pause, emphasis and intonation
  • read and view a wide variety of texts
  • consider characters and events in texts from different characters’ points of view
  • identify patterns in factual texts, e.g. instructions, editorials and essays
  • identify patterns in media texts such as newspaper articles, radio drama and soapies
  • explore how technology shapes media texts such as talk-back radio, television news and newspaper articles
  • discuss the role of advertising in shaping texts
  • use strategies such as skimming and scanning to find information
  • use self-correcting reading strategies such as rereading and reading on
  • use library technologies such as subject, keyword
  • *author searches, data bases and CD-ROMs to locate resources
  • evaluate information from different sources for accuracy and appropriateness for intended audience
  • read silently for a sustained period of time.

Supporting your Child in Learning to Read

Reading should be enjoyable for you and your child. If your child becomes distressed or loses interest when reading at home, take a break from reading and try again later.

All children, regardless of age, like to be read to. Make a special time whenever possible for reading with your child away from interruptions. You can help your child in reading when you:

  • show your child that you value reading by reading whenever you can
  • provide a variety of texts for your child to read to you, e.g. stories, comics, poems, plays, cartoons, reference books, magazines, children’s recipe books
  • point out words on street signs, packets and labels
  • encourage your child to predict what a book is about from the cover and illustrations
  • reread favourite books
  • talk about the different purposes for reading a picture book, a novel, a TV guide, a newspaper, a telephone directory, a recipe book, an encyclopedia
  • point out the different size and shape of words
  • point out the first sound of a word and encourage your child to think of other words that begin with the same sound
  • encourage your child to read books for enjoyment as well as for information
  • praise your child when they are reading, eg `well done – that was a difficult word’
  • encourage a positive attitude to books
  • encourage your child to talk about characters and events in texts
  • encourage your child to make sound effects for the characters and events
  • ask your child to think of possible beginnings and endings for stories read and heard
  • praise your child when they are reading
  • `sound out’ difficult words and/or give clues to the meaning of difficult words
  • encourage your child to have a go at reading words that are unfamiliar
  • ask your child to read on past the unknown word to gain clues from the rest of the sentence
  • show your child how to find the meanings of unfamiliar words in dictionaries
  • encourage your child to watch films and videos of books they have read
  • talk about the ways in which a film version of a book compares with the print version
  • encourage your child to borrow books from the library.


Early Stage 1

At the end of this stage, a student typically:

  • responds to mathematical questions by drawing, telling, acting and writing
  • sorts things by shape, colour, size etc
  • recognises and makes patterns
  • talks about mathematical ideas such as position, mass, length, time and temperature
  • shows numbers on a calculator
  • uses computers, with some assistance, to do things such as drawing shapes.

Stage 1

At the end of this stage, a student typically:

  • asks and answers mathematical questions about familiar and practical situations
  • solves problems mentally, through drawing and by trial and error
  • measures length in metres and reads ‘o’clock’ times
  • describes the position of objects using everyday language
  • estimates, compares and orders objects by mass, volume, area and temperature
  • remembers addition and subtraction number facts
  • solves simple number problems using their own strategies
  • identifies coins and understands their relative value
  • uses mathematical names for shapes and objects, e.g. rectangle and prism
  • uses calculators and computers to explore basic mathematical ideas.

Stage 2

At the end of this stage, a student typically:

  • writes mathematical questions and problems using correct terminology
  • solves problems and checks the answer, sometimes using another method
  • describes the properties of shapes such as angles, faces and edges
  • uses simple maps and grids
  • estimates and measures in centimetres and metres, kilograms, square metres, litres
  • tells time in one-minute intervals and reads a thermometer
  • recalls multiplication facts up to 10 x 10
  • reads and works with numbers as large as 9999
  • reads, writes and talks about decimal fractions such as 0.45
  • uses calculators and computers to solve difficult problems.

Stage 3

At the end of this stage, a student typically:

  • chooses between different ways to solve a problem and says why the choice was made
  • selects between mental, pen-and-paper, calculator and computer methods to solve number problems
  • extends mathematical investigations by asking ‘what if?’ questions
  • gives reasons why, or why not, solutions to problems are sensible and correct
  • classifies and constructs shapes, eg equilateral triangles
  • estimates and measures angles in degrees
  • understands compass points and scaled maps such as street directories
  • estimates and measures in millimetres and grams
  • estimates and obtains measurements in hectares and kilometres
  • understands and solves problems that involve decimal fractions
  • reads, understands and uses whole numbers up to ten million
  • finds the answer to calculations such as 23 x 45 and 90 187 ÷ 9.