Preoperative teaching is an integral component of the care surgical patients receive. The need for consistent preoperative information has resulted in growing use of printed health information. There are many printed materials for nurses to choose from; however, these materials serve no useful teaching purpose if patients are unable to understand them. This study evaluates how well surgical patients understand the content presented in an educational booklet used for preoperative teaching. A Cloze test was designed to assess comprehension of a booklet prepared at a grade five reading level. Scores revealed that 84% of subjects scored above 56% and were able to comprehend the material independently; 10% scored between 44% and 56%, indicating they would require some help; and 6% scored less than 44% and were not able to comprehend the information.