Guest Speaker Discussion Next Week: Introduction to Health Literacy in ABE and ESOL

Hello everyone,

I'm excited to announce a special event next week on the Health Literacy Group!

Introduction to Health Literacy in ABE and ESOL

November 11-15


Guest Speaker: Kate Singleton, MSW, LCSW

Please read through the information below. I hope that you can join us for this practical discussion!

All the best,




Heath Literacy is a topic that has been used in many ABE and ESOL programs as a context for literacy education and language acquisition. It is immediately relevant to learners' everyday lives, and also to their use of new skills to take control of their life and make it better. Because of this relevance, it is a good way to keep students engaged in their literacy and English learning, and to encourage them to practice their new skills immediately and in the future. So, addressing health literacy in our classrooms can help to encourage the learning that is already taking place. But it can also add an important dimension to what we are doing to help our students. The health care system is maddeningly complex, yet a vital part of functioning in our society. And now, with the Affordable Care Act, everyone will be required to get health insurance, and then use it. Adding some health literacy into our ABE and ESOL programming will be something that will benefit everyone.

This discussion is an introduction to addressing health literacy in an ABE or ESOL class. Our guest speaker, Kate Singleton, has many years of experience teaching ESOL, writing curricula, and training teachers. She is also a social worker who works with health programs. We are thrilled to have her guide us through an overview of what health literacy means in the context of what we do in our programs.

Here are some things we will do:

  • explore case examples which show challenges faced by adult learners and ELLs in US health care.
  • learn what skills are needed to access, navigate, and communicate in US health care.
  • identify essential language and cultural information needed by ESOL beginners in US health care.
  • learn what ABE and ESOL instructors and programs can do to make health literacy instruction more relevant, up-to-date, and empowering for ELLs.
  • look at curricula designed for adult literacy and ESOL classes that teaches literacy and language alongside health literacy.

Preparation Reading:

Health Literacy Basics 

What is ESOL Health Literacy and Why Do I Need To Know About It?

Building bridges: A Health Literacy Partnership 


Guest Speaker Bio:

Kate Singleton, MSW, LCSW, is a health literacy consultant to the adult education, social work, and health care fields.  She is an experienced presenter and author on health literacy for all 3 fields.  In adult education, Kate taught, wrote curricula, and trained teachers for adult literacy and ESL for 15 years in northern Virginia and Maryland.  She specializes in the health literacy instructional needs of adult ESL learners and is the creator of the well-regarded Picture Stories for Adult ESL Health Literacy (2001, 2003) and the Virginia Adult Education Health Literacy Toolkit (2003).

Kate's interest in health literacy led her to pursue a Masters degree in Social Work at Virginia Commonwealth University (2004).  Her clinical social work experiences have spanned both physical and mental health arenas, including HIV services, addictions, and emergency department psychiatric evaluation.  Kate has been an emergency department and trauma social worker for 7 years at the Inova Fairfax Hospital in Falls Church, VA.  Her work in all these areas has greatly enhanced Kate's understanding of how health literacy challenges faced by low-literate and LEP adults play out in health care settings.  Kate recently completed work on the Northern Virginia Health Literacy Initiative, a health literacy outreach award project through the Inova Health Sciences Library and the National Network of Libraries of Medicine that reached over 800 adult ESL learners and 100 ESL teachers in the region.