Research-based Health Literacy Materials and Instruction Guide - Intermediate ABE/ESL Level

Research-based Health Literacy Materials and Instruction Guide
Intermediate ABE/ESL Level


The initial development and implementation of these Health Literacy Materials was the direct result of competitive federal funding for adult literacy research. The original materials, which form the basis for this web-based version, were developed through a grant from The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (2002-2008) to Dr. Susan Levy, University of Illinois at Chicago Institute for Health Research and Policy. The project was funded through a federal partnership which included The National Institute for Literacy, the Office of Vocational and Adult Education of the US Department of Education, and the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. For more details, including a full list of the original research project staff, see Introduction and Acknowledgements.

These Health Literacy Materials meet both the need of 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. The materials integrate literacy skills and practice with pertinent health information. In a scientifically-based research environment, use of these materials led to increased 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. 

The Health Literacy Materials have been customized to accommodate the needs of different types of adult literacy students, from beginning to advanced level ABE students, and from beginning to advanced level English language learners.

This version of the Health Literacy Materials was designed for ABE and ESL Intermediate Level students. Find the link to the Beginning Level ABE and ESL version in the left navigation bar.

Navigating Through the Materials: What’s Where

The basic layout or organization of the Research-based Health Literacy Materials is very straightforward. There are 7 Sections, designed to be introduced to students in order from 1 through 7. The results and outcomes of the research are based on this sequence of instruction and a set number of instructional hours (42 hrs. minimum). The Sections are listed on the sidebar to the left of the screen. Clicking on a Section title will allow you to read a brief synopsis of the main topics and highlights of that Section.  Due to the nature of the content, some Sections contain more material and will take longer to cover than others.

You’ll find the materials for each Section organized into four “folders” or categories:

1) Vocabulary

This folder contains:

  • Vocabulary Lists (Core and Supplemental)  
  • Graphics for the Core Vocabulary

2) Reading and Comprehension

This folder contains the core lesson content for the Section, which typically includes:

  • Pre-Reading Activity
  • Reading Passage  
  • Cloze Activity
  • Comprehension Check Activity

3) Supplemental Activities

This material covers a wide range of activities designed to reinforce and give more “hands-on” application of the core lesson content. The type of activity is denoted by the following codes:

  • (W) – indicates a writing activity
  • (O) – indicates an oral activity
  • (C) – indicates a comprehension/reading activity
  • (V) – indicates a vocabulary activity

4) ESL Activities

This material is designed specifically for use with English language learners. The folder contains one or more of the following:

  • Grammar Focus Activities
  • Sentence Focus Activities
  • Conversation Focus Activities

You may download, print and copy any individual file or activity for use. Clicking on the zip archive icons allows you to download zipped files of all the materials in a particular folder (or the entire Section), rather than saving them one at a time.

Before introducing the materials in the classroom or tutoring session, instructors are strongly urged to read the Instruction Guide. In particular, these key chapters contain the methodology and the rationale behind the activities in each of the respective folders.  :

Part 1 – A Closer Look at Vocabulary

Part 2 – A Closer Look at Reading and Comprehension.

Part 3 – A Closer Look at Supplemental Activities

Part 4 – A Closer Look at ESL Activities


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Instruction Guide   |   Technical Requirements