Staying Healthy: An English Learner’s Guide to Health Care and Healthy Living
The Staying Healthy resource guide is an informational resource for students or patients, but can also be used to address ESOL competencies with the accompanying Teacher’s Guide. The main book includes sections on health care, your doctor, medicines, nutrition, chronic diseases, and general rules of staying healthy. There are also two addendums, which cover coping with stress and womens’ health. Written at the 4th-5th grade reading level, this book has a host of photographs and illustrations to help English learners better grasp the concepts and vocabulary presented in the publication. With easy-to-read charts and tables, practice dialogs, and “how to learn more” sections, students are encouraged to seek additional information and assistance from expert healthcare professionals; locate free and low-cost healthcare facilities; engage in open communication and take on a more active role in their own health care management and healthy lifestyle.
This book is suitable for high beginning/low intermediate level ESOL learners and above. It can be used as a stand-alone resource for English language learners or ABE students, or used in conjunction with its Teacher’s Guide.
The Teacher’s Guide, which is correlated to CASAS and Florida Adult ESOL Course Standards, includes ideas for lessons, activities, and ways to facilitate learning. Suggested activities encompass Pronunciation, Grammar, Math, Hands-on Learning, Comprehension and Technology, allowing teachers to adapt their lessons to their students’ various needs and learning styles. The Teacher’s Guide also includes suggestions for teaching health content, including points to emphasize, ideas on how to discuss cultural commonalities and differences regarding health care and common health related misconceptions. There are also suggestions for activities and projects designed to encourage students to use what they have learned to take action toward improving their health and educating their communities.
The Florida Literacy Coalition now has the following books in the Staying Healthy series:
- Staying Healthy for Beginners
- Staying Healthy: An English Learner’s Guide to Health Care and Healthy Living
- Coping with Stress
- Women’s Health
They can all be located on the Florida Literacy Coalition website: http://floridaliteracy.org/health_literacy_curriculum.html.
The use of space, graphics and vocabulary in Staying Healthy are in keeping with what research currently says about what works for low literacy adults AND for English language learners. Written at a grade level below 6th grade is another factor which makes this guide research-based for accessibility. While the book itself is useful as a stand-alone resource guide for English language learners and other adults with lower literacy skills, the book, along with the Teaching Guide, can most useful when used by adult literacy teachers or tutors and their students. The teaching guide makes it possible to cover standards-based literacy competencies while addressing the most important health topics.
Staying Healthy’s approach follows the current concept of health literacy by addressing not just health knowledge, but also the ability to engage with the system, ask questions, feel empowered to advocate, and ultimately take action in order to improve one’s health.
ESOL teachers could work directly on literacy and language acquisition skills as they address health literacy, and tutors (or health educators) could use this book as *THE* instructional materials piece of a long term program with a low literate or functionally illiterate adult learner.
This resource was piloted with several ESOL programs in Florida and then adapted based on the feedback. Data from the pre- and post-tests on the Health Literacy Assessment indicate improved health literacy for the users, bearing out the efficacy of the Staying Healthy materials (student and teacher guides). You can see more about the evaluation and results in the Health Literacy Project Summary Report.
This product is "ready-to-use" and already has some lauditory accolades attached to its use. For example, Staying Healthy was used as the main text for Literacy Network’s "English for Health" class, which was recently cited by the State of Wisconsin Dept. of Health Services as one of five statewide programs for improving minority health.