Research-based Health Literacy Materials and Instruction Guide

The National Institute for Literacy has developed a set of research-based health literacy materials for beginning ABE and ESL learners. These health literacy materials meet the need for adults to enhance their literacy skills as well as their need to navigate the health care system and begin to achieve better health care for themselves and their families.


In a scientifically-based research environment, use of these materials led to an increase in participants’ literacy scores on standardized tests used to validate literacy gains. And, equally as important for these adult learners, they significantly increased health literacy and knowledge. 


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Adult Literacy Curricula Links

Adult Literacy Curricula Collection
A listing of adult health literacy curricula assembled by Andrew Pleasant, of Rutgers University.

Expecting the Best
A health and wellness curriculum for English as a Second Language (ESL) students designed to improve health literacy, functional literacy, and enhance English communication skills 

Health Literacy Out Loud: Health Literacy from a Literacy Perspective
Helen Osborne interviews John Comings, EdD about both the literacy and health aspects of health literacy, practical strategies that health professionals can use, and ways the health system can collaborate with the adult literacy system.

Health Literacy Special Collection
Curricula for teaching health literacy skills to adult learners and the general public as well as training for health professionals to better address health literacy in their settings.

Health Stories from New Reader’s Press
A healthy dose of readings and language activities to help adults navigate the U.S. health care system

LaRue Literacy Exercises
Provides literacy exercises on topics such as reading medication labels and medication side effects in five languages: English, Arabic, Hmong, Somali and Spanish.

Staying Healthy
An English Learner's Guide to Health Care and Healthy Living. A publication of the Florida Literacy Coalition, Inc. 

Understanding Medical Words
This tutorial from MedLine Plus teaches about medical words, including how to put together word parts. It also includes quizzes to test comprehension.

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