Here's an example of a fairly simple sentence that isn’t so simple unless you have the needed, underlying health literacy - health concept.
If you have been exposed to measles and feel ill, stay home to help prevent the spread of the disease. Call your healthcare provider to ask about testing and advice. If you don’t have a healthcare provider, call your . If you need help with getting access to health care, call the at 1-800-322-2588.
Let’s focus on the seemingly easy to read sentence:
If you have been exposed to measles and feel ill, stay home to help prevent the spread of the disease.
When you unpack the sentence you get:
1. You have been exposed to measles.
2. You feel ill.
3. Stay home.
4. Staying home will help prevent the disease from spreading.
This text (sentence/message) assumes a specific health literacy that the reader may not have. The text assumes the reader knows the relationship between staying home and spreading a disease. The needed health literacy is found in the cracks - the small connective tissue (phrases & clauses) of the sentence. In other words the reader has to know that measles is contagious and if you go to a provider waiting room (doctor, emergency room, clinic), you can spread the disease.
If you have been exposed to measles and feel ill, stay home and call your provider. If you go directly to your provider you can spread measles in the waiting room. Stay home, call your provider and you can help stop the spread of measles.
To watch a short educational video on "unpacking sentences" visit my website
Healthliteracylab.com for a library of free lessons