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TV411: Reading Medicine Labels

Example Web Site and/or Technical Equipment Required


Website Example:

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Computer, Internet access, projector, speakers (for class presentation)

Activity Description

This activity includes a video, printable worksheet, and online Web lesson on reading medicine labels.

TV411's mission is to help adults gain the basic reading, writing, math, and science skills they need to achieve their educational, career, and personal goals. They create educationally sound and entertaining multimedia learning materials and distribute them through television, the Internet, and literacy and community-based programs across the country. TV411 is a project of the Learning and Teaching Division of the Education Development Center, a non-profit organization that addresses challenges in education, health and economic development.


  1. Make sure that the site is not blocked at your school before using it with students.
  2. Do the activity yourself in order to anticipate students' questions and difficulties.
  3. Make sure that the quiz works on the computer(s) you or your students will use to ensure that necessary plug-ins are installed.
  4. There is a video (on Vimeo) and a printed handout titled Follow the Doctor's Orders. Review these materials to see if you like them. If so, download, print and copy the worksheet for each student. If you plan to use the video, be sure it is available at your school as many schools block Vimeo.
  5. Make sure students are familiar with symptoms and illnesses vocabulary and pre-teach if necessary.
  6. Introduce vocabulary and concepts related to the topic of medicine labels.


  1. Ask how many students have visited the drugstore to buy medicine for themselves or someone else. Activate background knowledge and promote interest in the topic by asking the students to identify the symptoms they were trying to relieve (cough, runny nose, headache, etc.). Write these on the board or type into a Word document projected in the front of class.
  2. Introduce the topic: reading medicine labels.
  3. Show the video (if it is possible at your school). If not, cover the material contained in the video with your students.
  4. Lead a brief discussion about the content of the video.
  5. Distribute the worksheet Follow the Doctor's Orders and review the parts of a prescription label.
  6. Have students answer the questions on the handout.
  7. Review the answers as a class.
  8. Direct students to the online lesson (Example Web Site) above. Explain how to navigate through the activity, demonstrating from your computer (if connected to a projector).
  9. Have them read the information and answer the questions. They should select Submit Answer after each question to get feedback on their selection.

Teacher Tips

  • Students should have basic computer and Web site navigation skills before engaging in this activity.
  • Avoid any advertisements on the page. Teach students to do likewise.

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  • This site has so many more options for activities. Consider their other Language Arts¬†and Math & Science ¬†activities including videos, Web lessons, and print downloads for use in your classroom's curriculum. Use the drop-down menu to browse the full catalog of materials by the skill they address.


  • Beginning High
  • Intermediate Low
  • Intermediate High


Basic Communication

  • (3.6) Understand basic health and medical information
  • (3.5) Understand basic principles of health maintenance
  • (3.4) Understand basic safety measures and health risks
  • (3.1) Understand how to access and use the health care system
  • (3.3) Understand how to select and use medications

Basic Communication

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OTAN activities are funded by contract CN200091-A2 from the Adult Education Office, in the Career & College Transition Division, California Department of Education, with funds provided through Federal P.L., 105-220, Section 223. However, OTAN content does not necessarily reflect the position of that department or the U.S. Department of Education.