Health Literacy in the Adult Education Classroom


October is Health Literacy Month and I'd like to start a discussion to share ideas about how we can plan and facilitate meaningful activities that promote health literacy with adult learners. 

  • More than 40 percent of Americans have difficulty obtaining, processing, and understanding basic healthcare information 
  •  Lack of healthcare literacy can seriously hamper national and global healthcare efforts

Let's discuss how we can provide students with the knowledge and skills needed to lead healthy lifestyles.  

I look forward to the discussion and sharing of ideas. 

Kathy Tracey


There are so many great FREE YouTube videos for exercise, healthy cooking, mindfulness, yoga, and more. Help adult learners learn how to make their own playlists, save videos to favorites, adjust volume, adjust video size, and how to turn on and off closed captioning with healthy videos to teach digital literacy skills while helping them focus on their health. 

Hi Chrissie, 

What a great idea to blend information literacy, digital literacy, and health literacy. This integrated approach leads to meaningful outcomes for our learners. 

I am hoping our colleagues would consider sharing some of their favorite YouTube Videos and we can curate a model  playlist here! 

Looking forward to the sharing of ideas to get ready for October's Health Literacy Month. 



As we focus this month on Health Literacy Resources, we could also consider integrated and contextualized numeracy instruction. How often do our students ask, Why Do I Need Math? 

We can answer that question with connecting numeracy to health literacy. Check out PIAAC Numeracy Skills and Home Use Among Adult English Learners for ideas to get you started. 

Consider sharing your thoughts on this resource and how you can use it with adult learners. 


Hi all!

Many years ago we tried to do a health literacy reading class. No one signed up. They said they didn't need us to tell them how to be healthy. We were like no, it's just learning to read with health-related materials! But they didn't care, we turned them off from the start. 

Would still love to do this but I would poll learners and ask what they are curious about regarding health - eating, exercise, doctor office forms, rx bottles, what Qs to ask at the dr., being confident about asking questions at the doctor (and taking more time than they want you to in the visit!) etc. and go from there. We do 1/1 tutoring, so our model is this anyway - ask the learners what materials they want to use to work on reading/English conversation for ELL. But still doing this as a group activity or a series of meetups would be fun. We did one cooking class a couple of years ago and embedded math and vocabulary into the event. 

Helen Osborne's newsletter is always interesting too -

Hi Stacy,

What a great call-out!  Sometimes we set priorities and I've planned events that I thought would be stellar, only to discover students had different priorities. 

I wonder if we contextualize health literacy in other domains. For example, to Chrissie's point about helping learners utilize technology through establishing playlists, maybe we can give students voice in their planning. 

Consider sharing your ideas about contextualizing heath literacy when students may not have the same priority.