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Health Literacy in ESL Class

Hello colleagues, Teachers who are interested in exploring the topic of health literacy with English learners, will want to check out these curricular resources in the LINCS collection that are housed on the Florida Literacy Coalition's website. The downloadable materials include beautifully illustrated student books and teachers' guides.

One set of materials targets beginners and features the following topics: healthcare, doctors, medicine, healthy food, and staying healthy. There is also a student book at the intermediate/advanced level. In addition, there are four videos on the site that can be used to expand learners' understanding of health topics and, at the same time, enhance their listening skills.

Additional curricular materials are available that deal specifically with stress and women's health.

It would be great to hear from teachers who are addressing the vital topic of health literacy in their ESL classrooms. 

Cheers, Susan FInn Miller

Moderator, English Langauge Acquisition CoP



Victoria Rainis's picture

Hi Susan, 

Since my adults are largely beginner & low intermediate levels, I begin with the list of medical terminology/vocabulary with images worksheet (attached) so they can identify body parts and describe ailments when going to the doctor. Our lesson extends to 2 or 3 classes so that we can focus on the importance of providing medical information to the doctor accurately. In addition, I use a picture dictionary to elaborate on communicating specifics to the doctor. I wanted to send the doc but forget how to attach. Here is the link: -

After we have covered this medical terminology material, we study the food pyramid and healthy eating at my students' requests. Again, I have worksheets but forget how to attach them.


Susan Finn Miller's picture
One hundred

Thanks for sharing your health literacy practices, Victoria. What would we do without a picture dictionary?! In fact, the materials I shared above include wonderful photographs for teaching vocabulary and other language to beginners. 

As for uploading dcouments, members can't do that here on LINCS since all documents have to go through a vetting process to ensure they are accessible to anyone who may have certain disabilities. That being said, we can link to documents on Google, so anyone who has stored documents on Google that they would like to share them here can do so.

By the way, the link you posted doesn't seem to be working.

Cheers, Susan Finn Miller

Moderator, English Language Acquisition CoP

Michael Cruse's picture
One hundred

I'm excited to see this conversation taking place during Health Literacy Month.  Health literacy, like other forms of literacy, requires a responsiveness to the unique needs of different populations.  Another set of lesson plans that ESL teachers might find useful is the Talking About Pain  series.  I've used it with lower literacy English Learners (EL), as well as with individuals with cognitive disabilities.  


I like it because it is scaled in a way that makes it accessible for a spectrum of learners.  Later this fall, I hope to host a LINCS event on the health literacy needs and resources for teaching individuals with a range of disabilities.  Again, many of these resources may also be applicable to working with ELs.


Mike Cruse

Disabilities and Equitable Outcomes Moderator