Health Literacy Overview
An Elementary Approach to Improving Health Literacy in Mississippi
Effective health education programs should begin in early childhood and continually build on previous knowledge.
Health Literacy – A Prescription to End Confusion
Institute of Medicine, 2004
Comprehensive health education for elementary students should include a range of educational experiences taught in a way that allows them to learn, interpret and apply basic health information to their daily lives. Students should be encouraged to be self-directed learners while establishing a basic understanding of health promotion and disease prevention.
The IOM’s Health Literacy report said: “With the increasing pressure on schools today to include more and more academic content, educators are justifiably reluctant to add one more content area to their already overflowing plates. However, health literacy instruction can be embedded into existing science and health education, and even mathematics and social studies, as well as literacy instruction for children and adults.”
The Institute for Disability Studies (IDS), through funding from the Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation and in collaboration with teachers from the Madison County School District, has developed six grade-specific, integrated teaching strategy guide books from the Mississippi Health Curriculum Framework for kindergarten through fifth grade teachers.
In use by teachers in elementary schools across the state, printed copies of these age-appropriate health literacy teaching strategy books have been distributed free to schools and districts. These teacher guidebooks are now available for download. Use the Download Teacher Guides link on the right for the download page for all six books.
The Mississippi Healthy Student Act ensures that Mississippi students in kindergarten through eighth grade receive 45 minutes of health education instruction each week.