Monday, January 14, 2013

English for Staying Healthy

Knowledge is power, but it is also health. Literacy skills are the strongest predictor of an individual's health status - more than age, income, education level, employment status or racial or ethnic group. At Literacy Network we teach a class in health literacy for English as a Second Language learners. The textbook for the course is Staying Healthy - An English Learner’s Guide to Health Care and Healthy Living

Produced by the Florida Literacy Coalition and written by Sabrina Kurtz-Rossi, Martha A. Lane, Julie McKinney, Jordana Frost, and Gregory Smith, the book gives great information in plain but lively English. Using the Gunning Fog readability index I found that the material hovered around a sixth-grade reading level.

The book is filled with practical information on staying healthy and dealing with the American Medical system. Here is a screen capture to give you a sense of the language and content: 

The first chapter largely deals with the American health care system, which is likely to be very different from a learner's home country. Chapter 2, "Your Doctor," teaches learners how to communicate with medical professionals. Some of the advice is amazingly helpful, for instance, "Practice describing your symptoms in English. Practice with a friend or family member. If you have a picture dictionary or bilingual phrase book, take it with you." Following chapters cover nutrition, chronic illness and staying healthy.

Tutors and learners can download the entire 104-page book as a PDF for free from Florida Literacy Coalition's website. At the end of the PDF you may find a teacher's resource guide with practical tips for how to teach the vocabulary and concepts. Many of the guide's sections could make good lesson plans all by themselves.If that much data is unwieldy for your computer you could download it one chapter at a time by clicking here. If you have an interest in buying a hard copy for yourself or your learner you can buy one from the coalition for $5.00 plus another $5 for shipping. For any purchase up to five books the shipping cost would remain the same. 

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