Health literacy has been recognized as an important public health issue over the past decade. Low health literacy is a widespread problem in the general population, affecting over 90 million Americans. A growing body of research has demonstrated the association between low health literacy and worse health outcomes in a variety of chronic conditions. Despite the increasing prevalence of chronic kidney disease (CKD) and the considerable interest in health literacy, there has been limited research examining the role of health literacy in individuals at all stages of CKD. This article examines the role of health literacy in kidney disease by reviewing early research on the topic, providing a conceptual model of the relationship between health literacy and health outcomes, and highlighting potential areas for future research on health literacy in CKD.