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Hi! I am Trish Weekes

I am passionate about literacy in secondary schools and I have created this website to make a contribution to literacy for Australian schools.


I have experience as a secondary schools Music teacher and curriculum coordinator.  I became so interested in literacy that I left the classroom to do a PhD in secondary school literacy. I have also worked as an academic and senior lecturer for teacher education. Now, I am a literacy consultant, researcher and publisher of literacy resources.  I am an active member of the literacy research community, as you can see from my publications below. I really hope that the information on this site will help you to improve literacy in your secondary school.

My research

The list below shows my recent research and academic publications. As you can see, I am an active researcher who is up with all the latest evidence on literacy.

Weekes, P. & Jones, P. (2021). The challenges of mapping literacy development across the years of schooling. Australian Journal of Language and Literacy. Special Issue: Literacy Transition. 44(2), 11-25.

Weekes, P. (in press 2021). ‘A review of the literature around literacy transition’, in P.T. Jones, E. Matruglio & C. Edwards-Groves (Eds.), Transition and Continuity in School Literacy Development. London: Bloomsbury.

Dreyfus, S. & Weekes, P. (in press) ‘Putting Systemic Functional Linguistics (SFL) & Sydney School Genre Pedagogy (SSGP) to work in a compulsory first year Arts subject’, in Caldwell, D, Knox, JS, Martin, JR (eds), Appliable Linguistics and Social Semiotics: Developing Theory from Practice. Bloomsbury: London.


Dreyfus, S. & Weekes, T. (2019, November 9) Are you the next apprentice? Universe. Available at


Weekes, T. (2019). ‘Writing, talking and drawing about music: Transformations of musical knowledge in the multimodal music classroom’ in H. de Silva Joyce & S. Feez (eds.) Multimodality across classrooms. Learning about and through different modalities. New York & London: Routledge.


Weekes, T. (2016). Mastering musical meaning: Images as interpretive resources in multimodal music texts. Visual Communication. 15(2) 221-250.


Weekes, T. (2015). Writing about the concepts of music for success in the HSC Aural Skills examination. Australian Journal of Music Education. 2, 204-215.;dn=999420809326143;res=IELHSS


Weekes, T. (2014). Explaining the business world in HSC extended responses. Journal of the Economics and Business Educators New South Wales. 2, 42-48.


Weekes, T. (2014). From dot points to disciplinarity: the theory and practice of disciplinary literacies. Unpublished PhD thesis. University of New England.


Weekes, T. (2013). Exploring the use of images to construct musical meaning about concepts of music. In refereed papers from Redefining the musical landscape: Inspired learning and innovation in music education - XIX National Conference Proceedings (pp. 220-226). Parkville, Vic.: Australian Society for Music Education.

Weekes, T., Macfarlane S., Pinson, J. and Francis, V. (2011). Supporting successful learning for refugee students: the Classroom Connect project. Issues in Educational Research, 21(3), 310-329.


Systemic Functional Linguistics

The approach to literacy on this website is based on Systemic Functional Linguistics (SFL), a model of language that comes from Australia and is widely used in education (Halliday, 2004/1993).

It is based on the ideas that:

- language is a system for making meanings, and

- language depends on the context, that is, who you are, where you are,

   who you are communicating with and the purpose for communicating.

This is an ideal model for literacy in secondary school subject areas. As we know, each secondary school subject has its own ‘significant, identifiable and distinctive literacy‘ practices (ACARA 2013). SFL is a useful theory for understanding the literacies of subject areas, and researchers in this field have been active in identifying these specific and relevant literacies in subject areas (Christie & Derewianka, 2008; Fang & Schleppegrell, 2010; Humphrey, 2017; Martin & Rose, 2008; Weekes, 2008-2020).

In addition, there is a literacy pedagogy associated with SFL theory that was developed in Australia and is now used all over the world (Rose & Martin, 2012; Rothery, 1994). 

This research has influenced many Australian curriculum documents. SFL underpins the National Literacy Learning Progressions. The Australian Curriculum closely aligns with SFL principles, especially in the Language, Literacy and Literature strands of the English curriculum (Derewianka, 2012).


The scaffolding approach to literacy pedagogy across subject areas is endorsed by learning authorities in New South Wales (NSW Education Standards Authority, 2019), Victoria (Victorian Department of Education and Training, 2020) and South Australia (South Australian Department for Education and Child Development, n.d.). The approach also has a growing influence in Europe, Hong Kong and the UK (Coffin, Acevedo, & Lövstedt, 2013; Forey, 2020). In the USA, it has been applied in many curriculum areas in secondary schooling (Schleppegrell, 2004), it is the recommended methodology for literacy education in California (Spycher, 2017), and it is growing in influence. A recent review identified 136 research articles of SFL being used in schools for teacher education and in classrooms across the USA (Accurso & Gebhard, 2020).

The research basis for SFL is strong and growing. Evidence shows that this Australian-born approach to literacy and professional development lifts teacher confidence to teach literacy and improves student literacy achievement across the curriculum. How to improve literacy in secondary schools harnesses the power of the theory of SFL and applies it in a practical way to subject areas in secondary schooling.



Accurso, K., & Gebhard, M. (2020). SFL praxis in U.S. teacher education: a critical literature review. Language and Education, 1-21.

Coffin, C., Acevedo, C., & Lövstedt, A.-C. (2013). Teacher Learning for European Literacy Education (TeL4ELE) Final Report The Hague: European Union.

Christie, F., & Derewianka, B. (2008). School Discourse. London and New York: Continuum.

Forey, G. (2020). A whole school approach to SFL metalanguage and the explicit teaching of language for curriculum learning. Journal of English for Academic Purposes, 44.

Halliday, M. A. K. (2004/1993). Towards a language-based theory of learning. In J. Webster (Ed.), The language of early childhood. Volume 4 in the Collected Works of M.A.K. Halliday (pp. 327-352). London and New York: Continuum.


Humphrey, S. (2017). Academic literacies in the middle years: Enhancing teacher knowledge and student achievement. London: Routledge.


Martin, J. R., & Rose, D. (2008). Genre relations. Mapping culture. London: Equinox.

NSW Education Standards Authority. (2019). Learning through reading and writing. . Retrieved from


Schleppegrell, M. (2004). The language of schooling: A functional linguistics perspective. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

South Australian Department for Education and Child Development. (n.d.). Language and Literacy Levels. Teaching Strategies.

Spycher, P. (2017). Scaffolding Writing Through the Teaching and Learning Cycle. Retrieved from

Victorian Department of Education and Training. (2020). Teaching-learning cycle: reading and writing connections.

Weekes, T. (2008-2020). Literacy Works for History, Commerce, Business Studies, Science, Visual Arts, Music, Drama, PDHPE. Sydney: Literacy Works.

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