A year ago, on Giving Tuesday, we asked for support to build a financial literacy course that social service agencies could use to help their clients better understand financial topics. In doing so, the goal is to help users of the course improve the situation that brought them to the agency in the first place.
You did it. Your contributions have allowed us to build an accessible online course that introduces users to the basics of managing their personal finances while also helping to improve their basic reading comprehension skills.
We are excited to announce the course will be available to students in January.
Building off the success of the financial literacy model, we need your help again.
This Giving Tuesday, we are asking for donations to help fund a new personal health course to be distributed to social service agencies that will introduce basic health care topics to users while also improving their literacy skills.
Low literacy dramatically reduces a person’s ability to adequately interact with the health care system. This course aims to combat this problem in three ways:
- By improving literacy skills with strategies like reading in chunks or setting a purpose for reading that can improve overall comprehension.
- By providing information that can help users make healthy lifestyle changes, thus reducing the number of doctors' visits or the need for maintenance medications.
- By introducing health vocabulary and concepts, so that when users have higher-level interactions at their doctor’s office or pharmacy, they will already be familiar with common terms or diagnoses, making it easier for them to understand treatment plans.
So, what does that look like?
Like the financial literacy course, the health course will be available for free for anyone through ProLiteracy’s Education Network. Topics range from how getting a good night’s sleep can reduce stress, improve concentration, and help with exhaustion, to how healthier food choices are related to health issues like diabetes and heart disease. Mental health is also covered with a lesson about how to be happy and how to recognize and deal with negative feelings.
Why social service agencies?
Of the 43 million adults who cannot read above a third-grade level, only about 10 percent seek out services.
If people are not seeking out or finding literacy services on their own, ProLiteracy thought we could reach them where they are. We know there’s an intersection between low literacy and other social issues, like poverty, homelessness, domestic violence, drug addiction, etc., so by directing courses like the financial literacy or health literacy courses toward shelters and rehabilitation clinics, we can help the agencies’ clients learn skills that they will take with them when they leave—as well as increase their reading abilities.
That being said, the course would also be useful not just for social service agencies, but any local community health care organization, or even literacy programs looking to contextualize instruction.