Although the HELPS One-on-One Program has been demonstrated to successfully improve students’ reading skills, research suggests that some students may benefit as much from fluency-based instructional strategies that are implemented in small groups. Small group, versus one-on-one instruction, may also be particularly advantageous for teachers that have limited time or supplemental classroom assistance.
Therefore, we developed and have begun to evaluate the effectiveness of an adapted version of the HELPS One-on-One Program, which can be used with small groups of approximately three to six students and is called HELPS for Small Groups (HELPS-SG).
HELPS-SG integrates each of the instructional procedures found in the HELPS One-on-One Program, but the strategies are modified so they can be used with small groups of three to six students. Preliminary research with HELPS-SG suggests that it is effective in improving students’ fluency skills. Related research also suggests that many (but not all students) will benefit as much from fluency instruction that is implemented in small groups, compared to one-on-one instruction. Thus, HELPS offers teachers the option of using HELPS-SG with students who will benefit as much from small group instruction, and teachers can continue to use the HELPS One-on-One Program for students who do not benefit enough from small group instruction. HELPS-SG was also developed as a supplement to 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade teachers’ core reading curriculum when fluency is not otherwise targeted sufficiently in the core curriculum.
Current Status of HELPS-SG Development
Through research and collaboration with teachers, the HELPS-SG Program instructional procedures, protocols, recording forms, and student materials are completed. We are excited to report this because we have received hundreds of inquiries from teachers who are interested in using HELPS-SG.
However, the HELPS-SG Teacher’s Manual and training video are not yet completed, and we are waiting to fully develop these materials until we can analyze more data with HELPS-SG. Because research, data analysis, and developing the Teacher’s Manual and training video take a considerable amount of time, the projected time period that HELPS-SG will be available on this website is fall 2012 or winter 2013. However, there is one way to get access to HELPS-SG materials now, and we encourage educators to take advantage of this option (see information below). Otherwise, updates regarding the research and development of this program will be available on this website, and those who have a HELPS account (created for free from this website) will receive email updates when HELPS-SG becomes available.
How to Access HELPS-SG Now
As noted above, the instructional materials and procedures for HELPS-SG are ready, and we are making these materials available to all Certified HELPS One-on-One Program Trainers who request them. To become a Certified Trainer, teacher simply document that they can implement the one-on-one procedures accurately and complete a brief application that specifies your interest in becoming a Certified Trainer. In addition to having access the HELPS-SG materials, there are many other advantages of becoming a Certified Trainer for the HELPS One-on-One Program.
The reasons for making HELPS-SG available to Certified Trainers right now are fairly simple. First, we feel confident that teachers who can accurately implement the one-on-one program will be able to successfully learn HELPS-SG from the materials we currently have available. Second, having a small number of teachers using HELPS-SG will allow us to obtain even more feedback and information about the strengths and limitations of the program before we develop the teacher’s manual and training video. Thus, the final HELPS-SG product will benefit from multiple “pilot sites” that are using the program. If interested, click here to learn how to become a Certified Trainer and the advantages of doing so.
Research on Interventions that are Similar to HELPS-SG
The following research studies reflect a comprehensive search (as of October, 2011) of the available research on small group instruction that specifically targets reading fluency. These studies do not specifically evaluate HELPS-SG, but they include some of the instructional strategies integrated in HELPS-SG. Therefore, if interested, you can access the following resources for additional information about small group fluency instruction.
Begeny, J.C., Hawkins, A.L., Krouse, H.E., & Laugle, K.M. (2011). Altering instructional delivery options to improve intervention outcomes: Does increased instructional intensity also increase instructional effectiveness? Psychology in the Schools, 48, 769-785.
Begeny, J.C., Krouse, H.E., Ross, S.G., & Mitchell, R.C. (2009). Increasing elementary-aged students’ reading fluency with group-based interventions: A comparison of repeated reading, listening passage preview, and listening only strategies. Journal of Behavioral Education, 18, 211-228.
Begeny, J.C. & Martens, B.K. (2006). Assisting low-performing readers with a group-based reading fluency intervention. School Psychology Review, 35, 91-107.
Begeny, J.C. & Silber, J.M. (2006). An examination of group-based treatment packages for increasing elementary-aged students’ reading fluency. Psychology in the Schools, 43, 183-195.
Begeny, J.C., Yeager, A., & Martinez, R.S. (in press). Improving Spanish-speaking, Costa Rican, second-grade students’ reading fluency: Comparing small-group and individualized interventions. Journal of Behavioral Education.
Klubnik, C., & Ardoin, S.P. (2010). Examining immediate and maintenance effects of a reading intervention package on generalization materials: individual versus group implementation. Journal of Behavioral Education, 19, 7-29.
Kuhn, M.R. (2005). A comparative study of small group fluency instruction. Reading Psychology, 26, 127–146.
McCurdy, M., Daly, E., Gortmaker, V., Bonfiglio, C., & Persampieri, M. (2007). Use of Brief Instructional Trials to Identify Small Group Reading Strategies: A Two Experiment Study. Journal of Behavioral Education, 16, 7-26.
Ross, S.G., & Begeny, J.C. (2011). Promoting fluency in English-language learners: Comparing the effects of a small-group and one-on-one reading intervention. Psychology in the Schools, 48, 604-618.