Teaching strategies for low health literacy learners
  • Establish a trusting relationship.
  • Invite a second person to attend the teaching session, if appropriate.
  • Discuss with the person what he or she can and want to do.
  • Limit information to essentials for achieving desired behaviors. Be realistic.
  • Plan what to say and organize information with the three most important points. (Frame the message first.)
  • Slow down!
  • Use common words consistently — no medical jargon.
  • Define terms.
  • Make instructions concrete/specific and vivid rather than general.
  • Teach one step at a time.
  • Break down complex instructions.
  • Make time for the patient to tell his/her story and express feelings.
  • Use a variety of teaching methods and tools.
  • Use techniques of tailoring and cuing.
  • Verify patient understanding by using teach-back technique and problem solving situations.
  • Use praise and rewards.

Source: The Ohio State University AHEC Health Literacy Program, Columbus.