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Sample Activity


(1 hour, 30 minutes total including a 10-minute break)

Reflect on Health Literacy Readings (30 minutes)
Discussion Methods: Triads, small groups for initial discussion

Explain that this activity begins with an analysis of the readings in small group discussions. Let the participants know that you are forming small groups to give everyone an opportunity to share their thoughts and insights. Each group will take about 10 minutes to address two questions. Ask for a volunteer in each group to be prepared to report back to the larger group.

Ask participants to form triads – small discussion groups of three (10 minutes)

 Each group member should offer a brief introduction, perhaps sharing where and what he or she teaches. Members should share reactions to the readings sent to them and focus on the following two questions:

  1. What, if any, new insights did the readings offer?
  2. How did the readings change or support your own definition of health literacy?

Note that participants may want to refer to their Participant Definition of Health Literacy handouts that were included in the background reading packet sent out before Session One.

Groups report back (10 minutes)

 Ask a spokesperson from each group to report back to the whole group and share comments on readings and views of health literacy. Any definitions of health literacy that groups care to share can be posted.


 Facilitate discussion (10 minutes)

 Ask the full group of participants to consider the arguments posed in the background readings that support a focus on health literacy in adult education. Pose the following questions:

  1. People in the health field would tend to identify those adults in your classes as members of “at risk” population groups. Do you agree? Are they more “vulnerable” in regard to health than are others in our society?
  2. What are the health risks people with limited literacy face?


View and Discuss In Plain Language – DVD (20 minutes)

Discussion Method: Use a DVD as a trigger for a large group discussion

Note to Facilitator: The DVD is in the front pocket of the notebook.

 Introduce and play the DVD In Plain Language (20 minutes)

Discussion Questions for In Plain Language

Note to Facilitator: The participants in this group may have already taken part in another Health Literacy Study Circle + . If this is the case, please substitute the alternative activity described on page 10 of the Overview and Preparation for Session One booklet.

Facilitate a very brief whole group discussion

After viewing the video write the following title on newsprint: Why Health Literacy Is Important for ABE/ESOL Students. Pose the following question for discussion and record responses on newsprint:

If a colleague in your program asked, why would you say that health literacy is important for ABE/ESOL students?

Why Health Literacy is Important for ABE/ESOL Students

Reflection and Discussion of Our Own Experiences (30 minutes)

Discussion Methods: An expanding discussion and brainstorm activity

Explain that in this next activity, participants will explore their own experiences with health care systems.

Introduce the Expanding Discussion Method (10 minutes)

 The Expanding Discussion activity begins with a 5-minute discussion in pairs, moves to a four-person discussion as two pairs come together (another 5 minutes), and then moves to the larger group. Be sure to offer a 1-minute warning before asking participants to move to the next step.

Participants work in pairs (5 minutes)
 Ask participants to assemble in pairs and to choose someone they’ve not yet worked with. Ask each person to think about an experience of their own when they tried to navigate some aspect of the health care system or when they helped a parent or loved one do so. 

Participants work in small groups of four (5 minutes)

Reassemble the full group for a discussion (10 minutes)  

Our Challenges and Barriers in Health Care Access and Navigation

Tasks Challenges and Barriers Faced

1. What other access and navigation tasks could you add to this list?

2. What other challenges and barriers could you add?

If no one recalls more than one or two tasks, draw examples from this list:

Note that this Study Circle + addresses many of these issues.

Introduce the next activity
Note that as participants prepare to work with their students on health care access and navigation issues, they will first need to gain some insight into the interests and challenges experienced by their students. Point out that, in the next part of this session, you will review an activity that facilitates that process.

Updated 7/27/07 :: Copyright © 2005 NCSALL