Physical Literacy and Sport

Physical Literacy and Sport  
Prepared by  Prepared by: Dr Ralph Richards and Christine May, Senior Research Consultants, Clearinghouse for Sport, Australian Sports Commission
evaluated by  Evaluation by: Dr Emma George, Senior Lecturer & Academic Course Advisor, Health & Physical Education, School of Science & Health, Western Sydney University, (January 2018)
Reviewed by  Reviewed by network: Australian Sport Information Network (AUSPIN)
Last updated  Last updated: 28 February 2018
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In its broadest context ‘literacy’ means gaining knowledge and competency in a specific discipline or subject area. During childhood the learning process is facilitated by direct intervention from adult carers (primarily parents/guardians, teachers, and other role models), as well as interaction with peers and the environment. The learning process evolves and continues through adulthood. Both structured and informal learning situations contribute to the desired result – literacy. 

Physical literacy is a lifelong process for individuals with a focus on learning and improving competency of movement skills across a wide range of physical activity situations.

Key Messages 


Physical literacy is a process that begins in infancy and continues throughout life.


Early competency of movement skills appears to encourage greater participation in sport and lifelong physical activity.


All sports contribute to the acquisition of related fundamental movement skills. Some sports, when introduced to young children (such as athletics, gymnastics, and swimming) activate many skills and are generally accessible for early-age skill development.


Play opportunities, relevant physical education curriculum, and organised sport participation help young children to become ‘physically literate’.

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