The HELPS One-on-One Program was developed by integrating eight separate instructional strategies shown in previous research to meaningfully improve students' reading fluency. With many of these strategies, students' reading comprehension also improved as a result of the strategy. Equally important, more recent research has shown that the effects of these strategies are most effective when used in combination with one another. As such, the HELPS One-on-One Program was designed to integrate each of the most scientifically-supported strategies within a single instructional program. Throughout its development, HELPS was also designed so it could be (a) feasibly learned and implemented by numerous teachers, (b) fun and appropriate for students of varying reading-ability levels, and (c) educationally meaningful for both students and teachers.
Given the previous research supporting the effectiveness of the eight aforementioned strategies, the integration of these strategies into the HELPS Program makes it a strongly evidence-based program for improving students' reading fluency. The HELPS Program Teacher's Manual provides additional information about the development of this Program and how it is unique compared to other reading programs.
Another critical feature in the development of the HELPS One-on-One Program was to systematically evaluate the effectiveness of the Program in school settings. As of September 2009, seven separate studies have evaluated this particular HELPS Program. Methodological characteristics of most of these studies were as follows: (a) most studies involved comparisons of one or more groups against a "treatment-as-usual" control group; (b) assessments of reading improvement included multiple standardized measures of fluency, comprehension, and basic reading skills; and (c) participants included mostly first through fourth grade students.
The overall findings from this research revealed the following:
1. Students who received the HELPS Program usually improved their reading abilities more than students who did not receive the program.
2. Students receiving the HELPS Program often improved both their fluency and comprehension.
3. First and second grade students of varying reading abilities generally benefitted from the Program, including students with reading difficulties.
4. Preliminary evidence suggests that HELPS also shows promise as a valid method of progress monitoring in reading.
5. Initial evidence shows that HELPS can meaningfully improve students' reading skills when used as part of an after-school program for low-income students with reading difficulties.
Given these findings, the HELPS One-on-One Program has strong preliminary evidence as being research-validated, in addition to being evidence-based. The HELPS Program Teacher's Manual summarizes the first seven research studies conducted with the One-on-One Program and further describes how the HELPS Program can be considered research-validated and evidence-based.
Of the studies summarized above, a full-length report of each study is in the process of being submitted, reviewed, and/or published in peer-reviewed professional journals. Click here for information and updates about published research related to HELPS. In addition, research with all HELPS Programs (e.g., the one-on-one program, the program for small groups, the program for Spanish speakers) continues. As additional research studies create new knowledge and information about the effects of HELPS Programs, this information will be summarized on this website and eventually appear in scholarly journals.