Easy Reading for Patients: Dealing with Side Effects of Cancer Treatment

American Cancer Society


The American Cancer Society provides easy to read fliers and handouts that can be printed and distributed to cancer patients and caregivers with low health literacy or limited English proficiency. They offer quick information on a variety of cancer topics including: Cancer Pain, Chemo Brain, Distress, Diarrhea, Fatigue, Mouth Sores, Nausea and Vomiting, Skin Changes, Sleep Problems, When Cancer Comes Back, and Being a Caregiver. Information is available in Spanish and several other languages.


Cancer Clear & Simple

University of Wisconsin Cancer Health Disparities Initiative


Cancer, Clear & Simple (CC&S) is a set of educational materials developed for use with rural communities, and has been adapted for African American populations. Curriculum modules include: Cancer Basics, Cancer Prevention, and Cancer Screening. A Facilitator Guide is available for individuals delivering education sessions. It discusses basic adult learning principles, provides information on how to plan an educational session, and includes a step-by-step guide to the curriculum. There are also over 40 educational handouts available on Cancer Information, Questions to Ask Your Doctor, and Health Tips & Ideas. CC&S materials incorporate health literacy principles and are designed to build knowledge and improve health-related decision-making.

Cancer Patient Education Health Literacy Toolkit

Cancer Patient Education Network


Health literacy is a major challenge and many patient education leads and health care providers struggle with time and resources to address it. Interventions that have been shown to improve health literacy include: health provider training, patient training (self-management), and alternate document design. The toolkit is thus divided into the following sections: Create Awareness, Health Professional Training, Get Patients Involved, Alternate Document Design, and Resource Suggestions.

Ask Me 3

National Patient Safety Foundation


Ask me 3 is a patient education program designed to improve communication between patients and health care providers. It encourages patients and their families to ask three specific questions of their providers: What is my main problem?, What do I need to do?, and Why is it Important for me to do this?. By asking these questions patients understand their health conditions, know what they need to do to stay healthy, and are encouraged to be active members of their health care team. Ask me 3 provides training materials for organizations including brochures, posters, implementation guides, and videos.

Health Literacy Training Manual for Community Health Workers and Frontline Staff

St. Vincent’s Charity Medical Center: Cleveland, Ohio

Titled “Making Health Literacy Work for You,” this manual was written specifically for Front Office and Community Health Workers, but is relevant for many other roles. The information in the manual is designed to be a train-the-trainer workshop using exercises, videos, and small group activities. The curriculum provides a comprehensive knowledge and skill base of general health literacy principles applied to public health and health care scenarios. This workshop’s interactive learning methods will help participants gain familiarity in applying health literacy principles in their interactions with clients and patients.

Download the Health_Literacy_Manual

CDC Health Literacy Resources

Center for Disease Control and Prevention


Newly updated, this site provides information and tools to improve health literacy and public health. This site features training courses, resources for organizations working to address health literacy, and links to resources for developing materials that follow health literacy principles. The CDC also provides links to Health Literacy activities by state, the National Action Plan to Improve Health Literacy, and access to what leaders in the health community are saying about health literacy.

Building Health Literate Organizations

UnityPoint Health


A health literate health care organization is described as easier for people to use, and critical to delivering patient-centered care (Ten Attributes of Health Literate Health Care Organizations). It supports patient-provider communication to improve health care quality, reduce errors, facilitate shared decision-making, and improve health outcomes. This guidebook will help health care organizations of any size engage in organizational change to become health literate. It complements many excellent health literacy resources, helping you use them effectively and reliably. It includes background, resources, examples, and lessons learned to help build a health literate health care organization