Demands: What are some specific reading demands?

We are going to be working with the Read with Understanding strand. Now… let’s go through it slowly. If you are already an experienced mapper, please skip ahead to the assessment task.

1. Print out the Read with Understanding strand.

Make sure you have the Read with Understanding strand in front of you so you can refer to the details for each step.

It looks like this, but it will have descriptions of skills and knowledge in all of the steps. You can Download the Read with Understanding Strand Chart if you need to.

Read with Understanding

Screenshot 2017-03-16 10.44.252. Choose a specific sample reading text or task from your teaching programme.

Choose some kind of teaching material that your learners have to work with, not NZQA unit standard descriptions.

Here are some examples of samples that you could choose:

  • Several pages from a workbook containing difficult vocabulary or new terminology.
  • Pages from a Code of Practice that people don’t always understand.
  • Content from a workplace induction procedure.
  • A health and safety compliance document.
  • A complicated notice that people have to read and understand.
  • Relevant pages from an Act of Parliament that is relevant to training and assessment.

3. Have clear reasons for choosing the sample

In the assessment template, you’ll need to say why you chose the sample. There are lots of reasons. Here are some:

  • You might have chosen some teaching material that you already know causes difficulties for your learners.
  • You might already know that you need to create some new material to teach a new part of your programme.
  • Your supervisor or manager may have asked you to focus on something in particular.

4. Start your mapping with the Vocabulary progression

In a nutshell, what you’re going to do at every stage is refer to the Strand charts and then shade in your own chart down to the relevant step.

We’re going to practice with the vocabulary progression. This is the easiest place to start.

For most training that has a technical aspect, like trades or employment focused training, it’s safe to start at around step 4/5 for reading. Look at the description for vocabulary at step 4/5.

You’ll see the following:

“… a reading vocabulary that includes some general academic
words and some specialised words”.

Vocabulary Most adults will be able to
Koru / step 1 have a reading vocabulary of everyday words, signs and symbols.
Koru / step 2 have a reading vocabulary of everyday words that includes some compound words.
Koru / step 3 have a reading vocabulary of everyday words and some less common words, acronyms and abbreviations.
Koru / step 4 – 5 have a reading vocabulary that includes some general academic words and some specialised words.
Koru / step 6 have a large reading vocabulary that includes general academic words and specialised words and terms.

5. Use what you know about your own subject

At this point, you need to use your own knowledge of your training material or work to decide whether this applies. In other words:

  • Does the sample require your learners to be able to use some academic words (like “measure”, “demonstrate”, “evaluate”, for example)?
  • Does the material require your learners to use some words that are specific to your trade or specialised training content (“listeria” for catering, “glyphosate” for farming or horticulture, or “Nogs and dwangs” for carpentry, for example)?

If your answer was no, then you need to drop back to step 3 and see if that fits better. Step 3 for vocabulary means there are no academic words and no specialised or technical words.

If you answered yes, then you should push ahead to step 6 and see if the answer is still yes to the description there.

Step 6 applies to vocabulary where you expect your learners to be working with a large bank of academic and specialised or technical words.

If you work in trades, your material is probably at least at steps 4/5 or 6 for vocabulary.

If you have a lot of technical jargon to deal with then go with step 6. If there’s just a bit, but it’s not too much then go with steps 4/5, which is a combined step.

If you’re not sure about what step, this process works well if you do it together with a colleague who knows what you know about what you teach or train.

6. Map the demands on paper first

If you’re working on paper, get a highlighter and shade down from the top until you’ve included the highest step that you identified for vocabulary. You’ll end up with something like this:

Screenshot 2017-03-20 17.32.43

This is mapping. Above, we’ve mapped the vocabulary demands for reading at steps 4 / 5.

You can download a chart and worksheet here for mapping your own reading sample. It’s exactly the same as section 3.3 of your assessment task. Print this out and you can use it as a rough draft and for notes.

7. Map your reading sample against the rest of the progressions in the strand.

Once you’ve mapped vocabulary, you can move on to Decoding and then other progressions. The system is the same. For each relevant progression:

  • Start somewhere in the middle of the steps – say around step 3.
  • Read the description from the Strand Chart for this step.
  • Use your judgement and decide of your sample matches the description. If it doesn’t drop down to a lower step. If it does, go to a higher step and repeat.

If a progression is not relevant you can skip it. But make sure you have a reason for this as your tutor or assessor may ask you.

There is also some subjective judgement involved. But also, you are the expert here. You know your own content. In the case of vocabulary, it’s easy… If you see technical jargon, you can’t map it at step 3. It has to be above this.

Also, many of the skills and knowledge required at steps 1 and 2 is very developmental. For trades and most courses, you’re going to be mapping at step 3 and above.

In fact, if you are a trades tutor, you may find that much of your course is at step 5 and 6.

When you’ve mapped all of the relevant reading progressions for your sample, you might end up with something like this:

Screenshot 2017-03-20 17.32.54

This is mapping in visual terms. From here you need to be able to talk about your results and what they mean.

When you complete the assessment task, you’ll need to answer a series of questions to show that you know what you’ve just done.

These questions are in the assessment template and in the worksheet if you download it. They’re also here below:

  • What text or task did you use?
  • Why did you choose this as your sample?
  • Out of everything here, what are the most important progressions and steps?
  • What about planning for assessment and teaching?

In the template, there are prompts to help you answer the questions. Feel free to ignore them if you like. But they are there to help you get started writing your answers and guide you in the right direction.

If you can map a sample reading text and answer the questions above, you can move onto the next module. Keep your sample handy, though. You’ll need to scan it and upload it when you submit your finished assessment task.

Narrowing the focus: mapping to progressions and steps

Knowing the demands (14)

In the last two modules, you learned how to map your teaching programme to the strands and progressions of the Learning Progressions.

Next, we’ll be looking at how you map some specific samples of your teaching materials or other content to the progressions and steps of the Learning Progressions.

In the modules that follow, you’ll learn how to map specific demands for a sample of:

  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Number
  • Measurement

This will carry you through the rest of Assessment 3. By now you might have already downloaded the assessment template and made a start.

If you haven’t we’d encourage you to skip ahead and download the template. This means you can dip in and out of these modules as you need to.

We also suggest that you work your way through each module that follows but also refer back the material for reference or clarification.

Demands: Understanding what the numeracy progressions are…

Knowing the demands (11)

What are the big picture numeracy demands?

By identifying the most important literacy progressions for your own teaching situation, you’ve started to map the big picture demands. Now we need to do the same thing for numeracy.

By the end of this module, you should have some ideas about:

  • Which numeracy strands are relevant for your teaching.
  • Which progressions from these strands are relevant.

As with literacy, not everything here is going to be relevant. And as with literacy, we need to make sure that you:

  1. Understand what each numeracy progression is in plain English.
  2. Can eliminate any progressions that are not relevant.
  3. Identify which numeracy progressions are important for your teaching and programme and know why.

And just like with the literacy demands, we have a task for you to work on that will help you focus on the key numeracy demands for your programme.

Understanding what the numeracy progressions are

The numeracy progressions don’t repeat themselves like the literacy progressions. Instead, there is a distinct set of progressions for each numeracy strand.

You can probably guess many of them, but here are some plain English explanations.

Make Sense of Number to Solve Problems

Additive Strategies

  • Using + and – to solve problems

Multiplicative Strategies

  • Using x and ÷ to solve problems

Proportional Reasoning

  • Using fractions, decimals, %, proportions, ratios, rates to solve problems

Number Sequence

  • Knowing the sequence of numbers forwards and backwards. Includes integers, fractions, decimals, %

Place Value

  • Knowing the place and value of numbers. Includes tens, hundreds, thousands, fractions and decimals adding up to 1. Ordering and converting between fractions, decimals, %.

Number Facts

  • Knowing +, -, x and ÷ facts from memory. Also knowing fraction, decimal, and % facts.

Reason Statistically

Preparing Data

  • Sorting, organising, and representing data for analysis.

Analysing Data

  • Describing and comparing data for interpretation.

Interpreting Data

  • Interpreting and discussing data to predict and conclude


  • Knowing about chance, likelihood, and possible outcomes.

Measure and interpret shape and space

Shapes & Transformations

  • Describing and working with shapes. Includes shapes of two or three dimensions.


  • Working with movement, distance, direction, bearings, grid references, maps, scales.


  • Comparing, ordering and measuring things. Includes using the right tools, systems, formulas, estimates and conversions.

Demands: Understanding what the literacy progressions are…

Knowing the demands (8)

What are the big picture literacy demands?

From here you’ll be working towards completing Assessment 3. In the first part, we look at the big picture demands. By the end, you should have an idea about:

  • Which literacy strands are relevant for your teaching.
  • Which progressions from these strands are relevant.

Not everything is going to be relevant so we need to make sure of a couple of things. These are that you:

  1. Understand what each literacy progression is in plain English.
  2. Can eliminate any progressions that are not relevant for your situation.
  3. Identify which literacy progressions are important for your teaching and programme and know why.

There are a couple of tasks coming up which will pull all this together.

Understanding what the literacy progressions are

If you’ve already had a look at the strand charts, you’ll have noticed that some of the progressions pop up again in different strands. For example, each of the four literacy strands has a vocabulary progression.

Below is list of all of the literacy progressions and our “plain English” explanations of what they mean. Have a read through and then see if you can complete the task that follows.


  • Knowing the meanings of words, how to use them and how they relate to each other

Language & Text Features

  • Using and understanding language, texts and parts of texts including speech


  • Understanding the messages, making connections with what you know and inferring meanings

Listening Critically

  • Understanding who is speaking and why. Aware of speakers’ purposes and points of view.

Interactive Listening & Speaking

  • Taking part in conversations and discussions. This includes taking turns, interrupting in a way that is appropriate and checking meanings

Using Strategies to Communicate

  • Getting ideas and information across to others in a way that is effective


  • Knowing how to say written words out loud

Reading critically

  • Understanding who wrote something, why, and for whom.

Purpose & Audience

  • Having reasons and goals for writing. Knowing who you are writing for.


  • Writing words in a way that is correct and consistent.

Planning & Composing

  • Deciding what to write about. Then recording ideas.

Revising & Editing

  • Making changes and corrections to writing. The aim is that the writing is clear, meets your purpose and engages with the audience.

Demands: What are strands, progressions and steps?

Knowing the demands (5) As we learned in the first part of this course, the strands are the big content areas. These are the big grids that we’ll use for mapping.

Literacy has four strands and numeracy has three. These are as follows:

  • Learning Progressions for Adult Literacy
    • Listen to understand
    • Speak to communicate
    • Read with understanding
    • Write to communicate
  • Learning Progressions for Adult Numeracy
    • Make sense of number to solve problems
    • Reason statistically
    • Measure and interpret shape and space

Each strand then breaks down into a number of progressions. These are the smaller content areas that fit inside the strand. Some of the jargon here might be new.

For now, don’t worry if there are new words or you’re not quite sure about what they mean. We’ll get to that shortly. Just pay attention to how things are organised for now.

For example, here is a simplified version of the Read with Understanding strand and progressions. You might remember this from the first assessment as well.

Screenshot 2017-03-16 10.44.25

Here’s how the strand breaks down:

  • Read with Understanding
    • Decoding progression
    • Vocabulary progression
    • Language and text progression
    • Comprehension progression
    • Reading critically progression.

From here, each progression breaks down into steps. We also call these koru. Each step or koru describes different kinds of knowledge or skills.

Here’s an example of the steps from the Vocabulary progression in the Reading strand above:

Vocabulary Most adults will be able to
Koru / step 1 have a reading vocabulary of everyday words, signs and symbols.
Koru / step 2 have a reading vocabulary of everyday words that includes some compound words.
Koru / step 3 have a reading vocabulary of everyday words and some less common words, acronyms and abbreviations.
Koru / step 4 – 5 have a reading vocabulary that includes some general academic words and some specialised words.
Koru / step 6 have a large reading vocabulary that includes general academic words and specialised words and terms.

Some steps or koru are combined like steps 4 and 5 in the example above. But the important thing to know is that there are six possible divisions.  

One exception is that in the Make Sense of Number to Solve Problems strand, the knowledge progressions stop at step 5. There’s a reason for this, but we’ll come to it later.  

Koru/Step 1 indicates the initial learning step and as the learning builds and the demands increase so do the steps.

Another way to think about this is that step 1 or 2 skills or knowledge are basic and often developmental, while skills or knowledge at step 5 or 6 are more complex and need to be applied to real life.

Here’s an example. These are the steps in the Number Facts Progression in the Make Sense of Number to Solve Problems strand. 

Number Facts Most adults will know
Koru / step 1 addition facts with sums of 5 or 10.
Koru / step 2 basic addition and subtraction facts up to 10 + 10.
Koru / step 3 basic multiplication facts up to 10 x 10.
Koru / step 4 basic multiplication facts with tens, hundreds, and thousands.
Koru / step 5 fraction, decimal and percentage conversions for halves, thirds, quarters, fifths, and tenths.
Koru / step 6 Left blank

We will limit our focus in this training to just two strands for each of literacy and numeracy. You can go beyond this if you want to. But for your assessments, we only require you to look at reading, writing, number, and measurement.

3. Knowing the demands: Analysing the literacy and numeracy demands of your programme

Knowing the demands

Kia ora and welcome…!

This is the third of seven collections covering the knowledge and skills you need to teach better by embedding literacy and numeracy into your training.

By the end of this third part, you will have covered:

  • What you need to know to map the literacy and numeracy demands of your programme.

This next content area breaks down into six modules. Here’s what’s coming up:

3.1 – 3.2 What are the big picture literacy and numeracy demands?

We’ll look at the Learning Progressions for Adult Literacy and numeracy in a bit more detail and show you how to use these frameworks. Our purpose here is to develop a working knowledge of the progressions in a broad sense.

You’ll learn how to use the progressions to “get under the surface” of your programme and see what the most important literacy and numeracy skills are.

3.3 – 3.6 What are some specific demands for reading, writing, number, and measurement?

After we’ve looked at the big picture, we’ll show you how to narrow your focus and apply the Learning Progressions to samples of your teaching materials. Our purpose here is to use the progressions as a tool to identify specific literacy and numeracy demands in your programme.

Later on you can use this knowledge to tailor your teaching to address the specific literacy and numeracy needs of your learners. And you’ll do this in the context of your regular teaching.

Under the hood: The Learning Progressions for Adult Literacy

Lit ProgsThe Learning Progressions for Adult Literacy are one of the main frameworks we use for understanding how to embed literacy. We often refer to it as just the Literacy Progressions.

It’s part of a pair of progressions we use in adult teaching. The other one is the Learning Progressions for Adult Numeracy. More on that in the next section, though.

Where does it come from?

The Learning Progressions were created by the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC). The TEC directs and funds much of tertiary education in New Zealand.

What’s it for?

The Literacy Progressions are

  • A guide to identifying the next literacy steps for adult learners.

The progressions provide a framework that shows what adult learners know and can do at successive points as they develop their expertise in literacy learning.

The progressions also describe what is learned in the order that it is usually learned. This means it’s a tool for helping us teach better. This includes:

  • Identifying the English-language demands of a specific workplace, community, or personal tasks and texts.
  • Working out a basic picture of an adult learner’s current skills, strategies and knowledge in oral and written English.
  • Deciding on a sequence for teaching and learning specific literacy skills.

What is it?

The easiest way to understand what the Literacy Progressions are is to see them. There are four grids. One for each of listening, reading, listening and speaking. These four grids are called strands. Together they are the framework we use for literacy.

Here is the reading strand.

screenshot-2017-02-15-21-29-49In the reading strand above you can see five columns. These columns are the progressions. If you look across the top, you can see what they are called. For example, in the reading strand above, the second column is the Vocabulary Progression.

Each progression has several boxes. These boxes are numbered. At the top, the first box is called koru 1 or step 1. As we go down, the koru or steps increase. At the bottom of the progression is step 6.

Sometimes several koru or steps are combined. For example, in the vocabulary progression you can see koru 1, 2 and 3, but then a combined koru 4/5 which is a larger box. These double steps mean that the learning at this step takes some time to develop and really sink in.

Here’s the writing strand.screenshot-2017-02-15-21-33-29

Again, you can see some single steps and some double. The full version of each strand has a lot of information at each step. We’ve taken out all the details for now. We just want you to get the idea without getting bogged down. We’ll come back to this detail in module 3. Feel free to skip ahead if you think you need it, though.

We’ll come back to this detail in module 3. Feel free to skip ahead if you think you need it, though.

To sum up, The Learning Progressions for Adult Literacy are organised into four strands:

  • Listen with Understanding
  • Speak to Communicate
  • Read with Understanding
  • Write to Communicate.

Each strand contains a group of progressions. Each progression highlights a particular area of learning within a strand, for example,  vocabulary. And each step or koru in a progression represents a development step as learners build their expertise.

How is it relevant?

The literacy progressions are relevant because they can help you teach better. In this course, you’ll learn how to use the literacy progressions framework to help you do the following.

  • Work out the literacy demands of your teaching (Module 3 – Demands).
  • Design strategies for embedding literacy into your programme (Module 4).
  • Understand your learners’ literacy needs better (Module 5 – Before).
  • Plan how to embed literacy into teaching and activities (Module 6 – Teaching).
  • Assess learner literacy progress (Module 7 – After).

What does it mean for me?

What it means for you is that you can better understand the demands of your training, the needs of your learners, and what you need to do to bridge any gaps between where the course is at and where your learners are at.

Another implication for you relates to assessment. Many tutors already assess their learners using the Literacy and Numeracy for Adults Assessment Tool (LNAAT).

This assessment tool generates a detailed literacy report for each learner that looks like this.


Some tutors assess their learners using the tool but never get to see the results like this. If that you, then ask for the reports. Otherwise, it’s a wasted opportunity for better teaching and learning.

As a teacher or a trainer, you can’t make sense of this information if you don’t understand the literacy progressions. If you do understand how the progressions work, then you can use the information to help you make better decisions in your teaching.

Better decisions mean better teaching.

We’ll take a good look at this assessment tool and how it works in Module 5. This is when we’ll look at how you assess your learners’ literacy needs. And this includes using the LNAAT, but also using your own tools for your own context.