Literacyworks is an educational nonprofit organization created to increase accessibility and participation of underprivileged and underrepresented adults, families and children to increase literacy, technology, and basic skills. Our goal is to collaboratively and comprehensively address the literacy needs of families across a spectrum of basic needs essential to the quality of life: family literacy, health literacy, financial literacy, and workplace literacy. To address one literacy need outside the context of the others leaves families only partially served. We have an expert health educator team & a national dissemination network of research & evidence-based plain language material to reach low-literacy families. 

LITERACYWORKS CALIFORNIA HEALTH LITERACY INITIATIVE (CHLI) The goal of the Literacyworks California Health Literacy Initiative (launched by Literacyworks & California Literacy in 2003) is to inform & partner with individuals and organizations to craft collective, lasting solutions which will positively impact the health and well-being of individuals with low-literacy skills, their families, & their communities. Literacyworks continues to expand the original goal of the Initiative by increasing collaborative partnerships & developing understandable health literacy material.

What is Health Literacy?

Health Literacy is the ability to read, understand and act upon health information. $73 billion is the estimated annual cost of low literacy skills in the form of longer hospital stays, emergency room visits, increased doctor visits, and increased medication ( National Academy on an Aging Society). Health Literacy represents the cognitive and social skills, which determine the motivation and ability of individuals to gain access to, understand, and use information in ways, which promote and maintain good health.

Adult learners face the same health care challenges as fully literate adults establishing a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, understanding new diseases and new therapies. For adult learners, the additional struggle is to do all of these tasks while lacking the necessary skills to find and understand health-related information. As a result, they often fail to engage in early detection and preventive health care practices and have difficulty understanding and complying with instructions from their doctors. A recent study found that 42 percent of adult respondents did not understand the instructions “take this medicine on an empty stomach.” Complicating matters is the fact that most health promotion materials are written at the tenth grade reading level and the average adult in California reads at the seventh grade reading level.

Nearly 70 percent of the immigrants who have resided in California for ten or fewer years are functionally illiterate. To be functionally illiterate means to be unable to read the label on a medicine bottle, complete a medical history form, or find an intersection on a street map. Health Literacy empowers individuals and communities by improving their ability to access health information and their capacity to use it effectively.

The Health Literacy Resource Center is a central resource for health literacy information and training. It is a one-stop-shop for Web-based health literacy resources. The information is provided for literacy practitioners, health care professionals, adult literacy and ESL students, and anyone who seeks a clear understanding of health information.

625 Second Street  
Suite 107    
Petaluma, CA 94952
Phone: (707981-8086

 Updated: April 6, 2019