Reading Levels for our Education Materials

Reading Levels for our Education Materials

Reading levels for health information are recommended to be between 6th and 8th grade when measured using the SMOG Readability Index. CDC Guidelines state that written resources should be developed with these goals:

  • Give the most important information first
  • Limit the number of messages
  • Tell audiences what they need to do
  • Tell your audience what they will gain from understanding and using the material
  • Choose your words carefully

All of our parent resources were developed with these goals in mind and contain reading levels calculated using the SMOG Readability Index. You can find them in the "Specification" information for each product. 

Questions? We are happy to discuss reading levels or assist you in choosing the resources that work best for your clients. Contact us!

 

 

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Anatomy Lessons Needed!

Anatomy Lessons Needed!

We were a bit shocked to read that a recent study found half of young women (age 26 to 35 years) were unable to locate a vagina on a diagram. We knew from experience teaching childbirth classes and with doula clients, that some moms and dads-to-be can be confused about the location of some anatomical parts and we often get questions like "can you see the cervix dilating?"

 

We knew that the unique anatomical changes of pregnancy are not often well understood prior to taking a  childbirth class, but this article made us realize we can't take for granted that parents understand even basic anatomy and that it helps to use simple illustrations and words to cover this information before we go further into pregnancy anatomy, stages of labor and birth.

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Are cartoons a good teaching tool?

Are cartoons a good teaching tool?

Cartoons are fun. We watched them as children, we laugh at them on Pinterest and maybe we even still enjoy reading them in the newspaper. However, fun illustrations and cartoons show up in the materials we use as childbirth educators, doulas and health care professionals, and we wonder if this is the best place for them. Perhaps smiley faces and line drawings can serve to show labor in a gentler way or to be lighthearted about serious subjects, but when the reality of labor begins or in the first few days with a newborn, did these cartoons do enough to prepare mothers and fathers for their real life experiences, or did they minimize the intensity of it all? Will parents relate to these graphics in the same way that they would to photos and videos of real people?
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Getting Organized

Getting Organized

tips for getting organized teaching cbe childbirthIf you are like us, you probably struggle with keeping all of your class information, activities and handouts organized. You probably spend a good deal of time preparing for class each week and wish there was an easier way. We have some tips to help you streamline your preparation and save yourself time.

Lesson Plans

Whether you are a season childbirth educator or a newbie, it is important to have up-to-date lesson plans to help you stay organized, evaluate your course content and keep on task. Be sure to write up detailed lesson plans for each class in your course series. For each class, list the topics you will discuss, the key points for the topic and include the time each topic should take. When you are first starting out, you may find it helpful to write word for word what you would like to say and then practice the timing and flow. More experienced educators probably just need a bullet point or two for each topic. For each class lesson plan, include the visual aids, handouts and activities you will need for that class. (See our Lesson Plans Made Easy Webinar replay for more tips.) Having all of this information in an electronic format will make it easier to make changes to the class as you get feedback and gain experience. You can print a copy and use it as a reference during class to help keep you on task, but it is often better to “wing it” rather than read word for word from your lesson plans. If you are struggling with creating your lesson plans, we can help. We include sample lesson plans and tips for creating your own lesson plans in our Childbirth Curriculum or Instructor's Guide. Here is a preview of a class lesson plan:

Files

If you haven’t done so already, create names for each class in your series/course. It could be simple, such as “week 1”, “week 2”, and “week 3” or more descriptive, such as “Healthy Pregnancy”, “Stages of Labor” and “Breastfeeding.” This will make it easier to find and organize your course materials. Create a folder on your computer for each class and/or label a file folder, binder tabs, box or other filing device with each class name. In each folder, add the class handouts, activities, and descriptive lesson plans that you will use for that week.

Handouts

Often Childbirth Educators purchase or find free handouts online that they give to their students. These resources can be a great supplement to your course. To save time, purchase or make enough copies for several courses, paper clip them together and put them in the appropriate class folder. If you are making copies of handouts created by other people, be sure you are following the copyright permissions for each document you copy. “Copyright is a form of legal protection automatically provided to the authors of ‘original works of authorship,’ including literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works.” Unless permission for copying and distributing is explicitly given, you are infringing on the copyright owner’s rights by copying and distributing their work and you could get into legal trouble. If permission is given, the document or website often includes a clause such as “You may copy and distribute this document, but may not alter it’s content.” If in doubt, contact the owner to ask permission or find a different resource to use. For more information, visit the website of the US Coypright Office.

Less is More?

In the beginning, we were eager to give our students as much information as possible. We would print copies of everything we owned related to childbirth education, but then we realized that couples are being bombarded by information (from us, their friends/family and the web) and what they value most is help boiling it all down. Now we are selective about what we give as handouts, share online or discuss in class. We focus more on helping couples become good decision-makers, rather than overloading them with all of the potential topics they might want to make decisions about and we have less paperwork to to boot!

Have a (Good) Website 

It is so easy to create a simple website (and be sure to follow our tips for making a useful website) . Besides, being a great marketing tool, your website can be a hub of communication with your students outside of class (and/or use social media in the same manner). Create a page or a Facebook group and post weekly reminders, homework, resources or other information you want to share. Students can check in here to learn more about topics you discuss in class and it will save you a ton of time. It will also save paper and allow the students to choose the content they wish to read.

Every 3 to 6 months, it is wise to go through your folders, clear out the unused materials, and delete or modify content that is no longer useful or is outdated. It feels great to have an organized system for classes and it will save you a ton of time and energy. We would love to hear your tips for staying organized. Add your comments below and be sure to pin the image at the top to Pinterest so you don't forget this next year!

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Plumtree Baby, LLC

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Getting Started as a Childbirth Educator

Getting Started as a Childbirth Educator

Becoming an independent childbirth educator is exciting and rewarding, but not necessarily straightforward. It is easy to become overwhelmed with your options, or you may not know even where to begin. Becoming a childbirth educator is, in essence, starting your own business.

This article will give you a starting point on your journey to teaching childbirth classes, one of the most rewarding and important jobs you could choose.

First, consider some of the logistics of teaching:

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