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 Health Literacy Patient Education

Want to see what effective plain language materials look like? This page lists some good examples of plain language materials.


"Baby Basics" from the What to Expect Foundation is a month-by-month guide for expectant mothers, written and illustrated at a sixth-grade reading level. Available in English, Spanish and Chinese.

"Best Start: Your Baby's First Year" was designed for young mothers who may not have the maturity, education or experience to care for an infant easily. It provides the basics on care and development from birth through an infant's first year.

By Deborah Stewart and Linda Ungerleider, RN, MSN
ISBN: 0-923521-63-1


"Baby & Me, The Essential Guide to Pregnancy" (4th edition) is a basic guide for women and their partners to use throughout pregnancy and for the first months after their baby is born.

By Deborah Stewart
ISBN 0-923521-90-9




What to Do for Health Book Series is written at a third- to fifth-grade reading level. These books are organized for easy use and immediate access to needed information. Liberally illustrated and containing no medical jargon, the books are meant to be a resource that can be used by anyone who needs information on each topic.

Titles include:

  • What To Do When You're Having a Baby (English, Spanish)
  • What To Do When Your Child Gets Sick (English, Spanish, Vietnamese, Korean, Chinese)
  • What To Do for Teen Health (English, Spanish)
  • What To Do for Senior Health (English, Spanish, Vietnamese)
  • What To Do for Heavy Teens (English, Spanish)
  • What To Do for Kids with Asthma (English, Spanish)


"Living with Diabetes: An Everyday Guide for You and Your Family" is a guide developed by the American College of Physicians Foundation in conjunction with health literacy experts. It covers diet, exercise, monitoring blood sugar, insulin and pills.

Offered in English and Spanish, the guide is wrtten in a conversational tone at a fifth-grade reading level and includes photographs of patients wtih diabetes and their families. It gives practical tips and concrete examples of successful approaches.



  The Healthy Plate (PDF), an excerpt from "Living with Diabetes: An Everyday Guide for You and Your Family", is available for free download from the American College of Physicians Foundation. This one-page tip sheet provides an easy-to-understand visual to educate patients about the amount of protein, carbs and vegetables they should be eating.

Want to stay up to date? Join the Health Literacy Listserv.  

The purpose of the Maine Health Literacy Listserv is to provide current information and encourage communication and discussion among health professionals and educators. If interested, please send your contact information and email address to the listserv administrator, Emily Brostek, at  


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