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Behavioral Sciences & Social Medicine > Area Health Education Center

Health Literacy & Foto-Novelas*

*A special project funded by the Florida Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.



Instructor Manual Versions


We would appreciate any feedback you may have regarding the materials. Please contact , Phone: 850-645-6439, or email at  with comments and/or suggestions.


About the Foto-Novelas

The FSU AHEC Program Office has developed expertise in creating patient education materials for individuals with low literacy and limited health literacy skills. This expertise has been showcased through the development of four foto-novelas (stories with pictures).

Written in a 3rd - 4th grade reading level, the stories are suitable for beginning or intermediate English learners. They are composed in a dialogue format, which facilitates classroom participation and interaction. The dialogue is written in English with the Spanish translation on the adjacent page. Vocabulary words have been underlined throughout the stories and placed in a box with the Spanish translation.

The Health Belief Model was utilized in combination with the Social Cognitive Theory in creating the foto-novela. The Health Belief Model is a widely implemented framework made up of six constructs: perceived susceptibility, perceived severity, perceived benefits, perceived barriers, cues to action, and self-efficacy. The model states an individual need to experience these constructs in order for behavior to change. The Social Cognitive Theory states that through observational learning, an individual can learn a behavior by observing another individual. We hope students reading the foto-novelas can learn from the experiences of the characters in the story.

Also included are instructor's guides with activities to assist learning and ensure comprehension. The instructor's guides include a review of vocabulary words, basic comprehension questions, a word search, a crossword puzzle, and a word matching activities that the instructor can copy and use as an entire lesson with the class. Additionally, there is basic information on asthma (BJ Has a Bad Day and Mario Decides to Quit), diabetes (Pedro's Examination and Reggie & Shakey), and lists of questions to initiate a class discussion on smoking and quitting, and resources available to the instructor in need of more information.

The goal of the Foto-novela is to enhance the health literacy of students while they learn to read. The stories have been tailored to the Hispanic population and focuses on asthma and the dangers of smoking (BJ Has a Bad Day & Mario Decides to Quit). Pedro's Examination and Reggie & Shakey focus on diabetes and smoking.