HEAP Health Literacy: About the HEAP of Books

About the HEAP of Books

The purpose of the HEAP of Books is to develop resources that would help classroom, health and physical education teachers utilize children's literature to teach and assess health topics and health skills based on the National Health Education Standards to ultimately contribute to improved health literacy in our children. HEAP members recognized that elementary teachers were responsible for teaching health but many had no health education courses during their teacher preparation.

Why the HEAP is developing it:

  • There is growing scholarly evidence that social and emotional learning initiatives can have a significant impact on classroom productivity and academic performance and teachers are beginning to incorporate such strategies into their literature segments.
  • In many state elementary teachers have not been exposed to a course in teaching health education in their teacher preparation experiences.
  • There is a link between reading and health literacy as factors in both academic failure and poor health outcomes.

Visionary experts in health education saw a means to enhance health literacy in our children by having classroom teachers incorporate health education with literature segments. The experts knew that a useful resource, needed by these teachers, should be a searchable bank of health books that included appropriate health discussion questions and assessments based on the national health education standards and with the discussion questions and performance ssessments aligned to the English/Language Arts Common Core standards.

Book resource development tools enable state or district teams to develop custom resources for their own specific needs, such as books already available in their schools' libraries.