Programs & Services
Helps Education Fund offers several evidence-based programs and services that are designed to support educators, improve student learning, and address educational inequities. For example, our programs and services improve children's reading and math skills, support parent and child literacy practices in the home, bridge meaningful connections between parents and schools, integrate highly-trained volunteers into school improvement models, and connect K-12 schools and universities to collaboratively address critical needs in education.
Our programs and services are being used by educators and community organizations across the U.S. and in several countries around the world. We continue to strive to expand our reach to offer even greater evidence-based support for the benefit of students and communities.
Each program—including all necessary implementation and training materials—are free to download, print, and use for educational purposes. Alternatively, Helps Education Fund can print, assemble, and ship the materials for a low cost—which many find more convenient.
100% of proceeds from sales of program materials go towards our work in supporting even more educators and students.
A different but complementary version of the HELPS program, which can be used with small instructional groups instead of with one student at a time.
An adapted and translated version of HELPS that is written in Brazilian Portuguese.
An adapted and translated version of HELPS that is written in Spanish.
A program and guidebook that provides parents and caregivers with more than 60 fun and research-based literacy activities that can be used with children from birth to grade 6.
A service program that strengthens school-based capacity for academic intervention by training and organizing community volunteers to implement research-validated intervention programs with students who need (but are not receiving) such intervention.
To support educators with effectively using the programs we offer, Helps Education Fund routinely provides training workshops that are grounded in best practices. Although our workshops are structured to be effective and time-efficient, they can also be adapted to meet the specific needs of educators, schools, school districts, etc.
To enhance educators’ capacity to implement evidence-based instructional programs, we offer coaching options to ensure strong implementation fidelity. We also train educators to use our research-supported coaching practices and materials to support others with implementation fidelity.
Through our Systems-Oriented Plan for Academic Achievement (SOPAA) approach, we offer schools, school districts, and other educational organizations various levels of consultation, support, and coaching to enhance existing systems designed to assist students in reading, writing and math.
For educators or organizations that are in the process of developing, refining and/or enhancing their own educational program, we can potentially assist with maximizing its usability and effectiveness.
For educators or organizations that have developed their own educational program and need assistance with high-quality evaluation, we have staff members who may be able to support such efforts.
Helping Early Literacy with Practice Strategies (HELPS) One-on-One
Teachers and reading researchers generally agree that the essential components of early elementary reading instruction should target phonics, phonemic awareness, fluency, comprehension, and vocabulary. However, many educators argue that reading fluency is commonly neglected as a part of a student’s core reading curriculum.
The primary goal of HELPS is to strengthen students’ reading fluency. As students improve reading fluency, they are better able to focus on and improve other important reading skills, including comprehension.
HELPS is evidence-based and research-validated with four randomized controlled trials confirming the efficacy of the Program. It is included in the July 2016 What Works Clearinghouse practice guide, “Foundational Skills to Support Reading for Understanding in Kindergarten Through 3rd Grade.”
The HELPS One-on-One program—including all necessary implementation and training materials—is free to download, print, and use for educational purposes. Alternatively, Helps Education Fund can print, assemble, and ship the materials for a low cost–which many find more convenient.
100% of proceeds from sales of program materials go towards our work in supporting even more educators and students.
Because all students must develop reading fluency in order to become successful readers, HELPS can be used with students of all reading-ability levels as long as they are developmentally ready to improve their reading fluency.
HELPS is a highly structured intervention that can be used by trained volunteers, paraprofessionals and teachers alike to improve children’s reading fluency. Furthermore, HELPS One-on-One is designed so that multiple types of teachers can implement the Program with the student (or students) who will likely benefit most from it.
HELPS can be used by educators such as regular education teachers, special education teachers, teacher assistants, school psychologists, reading specialists, librarians, and school volunteers.
HELPS strategically combines eight fluency-based strategies most associated with improved reading outcomes:
- Repeated reading of ability-appropriate text
- Model reading (i.e. having students listen to a more skilled reader read a passage aloud)
- Systematic error-correction procedure
- Verbal cues for students to read with fluency
- Verbal cues for students to read for comprehension
- Goal-setting (i.e. practicing text until a predetermined performance criterion is met)
- Performance feedback, combined with graphical displays of student progress
- Use of systematic praise and a structured reward system for student reading behaviors and accomplishments
(you print and assemble)
(we ship everything ready to use)
Implementing HELPS virtually
In response to COVID-19 and schools moving to virtual learning, Helps Education Fund developed and tested a new model for implementing the HELPS program virtually. Pilot tests suggest that our virtual approach is just as effective as our in-person approach to HELPS.
Starting in October 2020, we will offer online workshops for educators to learn our Virtual HELPS Program. Attendees will also receive (absolutely free) our systematically developed digital tools to accompany Virtual HELPS implementation.
For more information or to pre-register, please contact Janice Pidgeon at email@example.com.
Note: we will soon offer training for teachers to use either the One-on-One (adult-student) version of Virtual HELPS or the version that can be used with small groups of 2-5 students. Contact Janice to specify if you are interested in learning the One-on-One version, the Small-Group version, or both.
Helping Early Literacy with Practice Strategies for Small Groups (HELPS-SG)
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.
The overall purpose of the HELPS for Small Groups Program (HELPS-SG) is to assist students with their reading development and, in particular, to strengthen students’ reading fluency. As students improve reading fluency, they are better able to focus on and improve upon other important reading skills, including comprehension and thinking critically about what they read.
HELPS-SG is unique in how it integrates existing research, and how it has specifically been evaluated and found to be effective with students of varying grade levels. 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.
The HELPS-SG Teacher’s Manual (including instructional procedures, protocols, recording forms, and student materials) is now available for educators interested in using this program. 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 training videos are not yet completed. The projected time period that the training videos will be available is winter 2020. However, educators can get access to the HELPS-SG Teacher’s Manual and on-site training by contacting Janice Pidgeon at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Because all students must develop reading fluency in order to become more successful readers, HELPS-SG can be used with students of all reading-ability levels as long as they are developmentally ready to improve their reading fluency.
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.
Leamos para Avanzar: Un programa de lectura para niños
Leamos para Avanzar: Un programa de lectura para niños (Let's Read to Advance: A reading program for children) is an adapted version of the HELPS One-on-One program that is intended for students learning to read in Spanish—including students living in Spanish speaking countries and dual language learners.
O Programa HELPS em Português Brasileiro
Helping Early Literacy with Practice Strategies— Português Brasileiro (HELPS-PB): Programa de Fluência de Leitura para Escolares, is an adapted version of the HELPS One-on-One program that is intended for students learning to read in Portuguese—including students living in Brazil and dual language learners.
Parents and Schools Together to Enhance Learning (PASTEL)
Although many parents and caregivers engage their child with reading in the home, many do not know or have access to home-based activities that will best support their child’s literacy development.
The Parents and Schools Together to Enhance Learning (PASTEL) program provides parents and caregivers with 65 literacy activities they can use to improve literacy and pre-literacy skills of children from birth to age 12.
Unlike most reading programs, PASTEL activities were developed from years of research with hundreds of contributors, including literacy researchers, classroom teachers, reading specialists, principals, school psychologist, parents and caregivers, educational nonprofits, universities and other community organizations.
PASTEL activities are fun, easy-to-use, and evidence-based. The activities are interactive, can be completed in 15 minutes or less and no technology is needed.
PASTEL seeks to:
- Improve children’s emerging and early literacy skills by offering parents/caregivers fun, easy-to-use, and research-based literacy activities that can be used at home
- Increase positive communication between teachers and families in a way that is meaningful, time-efficient, and centered around a child’s developing literacy skills
- Provide parents with helpful information that should enhance their understanding of literacy development, their communication with educators in schools, and their child’s overall success in school
Children from birth to age 12.
The guidebook includes: literacy activities for toddlers, early literacy activities, preschool literacy activities, and kindergarten literacy activities.
PASTEL can be used by any person who is invested in developing the emerging and early literacy skills of children from birth to age 12 and has the opportunity to interact with them. PASTEL users can include:
- Parents and other caregivers (for example, grandparents, babysitters, older siblings)
- Educators working in schools or after-school settings. PASTEL provides simple, research-based activities they can easily suggest to parents and caregivers.
- Volunteers and staff who work in school-based settings such as after-school programs or pre-schools
PASTEL activities are:
- Organized by the students age and/or grade
- Organized by one of the four (4) critical skill areas a child should develop by age 12:
- Emerging Literacy (such as language skills and identifying letters)
- Text Reading Fluency
Each activity comes with:
- easy to use instructions about how to engage the child with the activity
- printable materials (if needed)
- a brief video demonstration
Each description will also include other information, such as how long the activity should be used with the child and fun ways to modify the activity.
Attend an online training to get the most out of the PASTEL guidebook!
When: Dec 2, 6:00-7:30pm
Cost: sliding scale, $20-60
In this interactive training, an expert trainer will:
- Explain the important role you play in a child’s literacy development
- Take you step-by-step through how to use PASTEL activities and get the most out of them
- Prepare you to start using the activities with a child right away
If you cannot make these dates, or would like more information - contact Janice Pidgeon at email@example.com.
Here’s what others had to say about the training:
The material discussed was very straightforward and included content that could be used by parents and children on every level, with multiple substitutions/variations for each portion discussed. - Parent/Caregiver
I liked the use of specific examples of activities -- doing so demonstrated well how quick and easy the activities are to implement. - Parent/Caregiver
Accelerating Mathematics Performance through Practice Strategies (AMPPS)
Using all of what is currently known about effective math instruction, Advancing Math Performance with Practice Strategies (AMPPS) is currently being developed to assist educators with improving elementary aged students’ skills in number operations and conceptual understanding. Like all other programs offered by Helps Education Fund, the AMPPS implementation and training materials will be available for free once the research and development is complete.
If you would like more information or are interested in possibly collaborating as a research and development site, please contact Dr. John Begeny at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Metropolitan Organization of Volunteers for Empowering Students (MOVES)
MOVES is designed to put well-trained volunteers into schools that lack sufficient resources to offer intervention support for all struggling learners who could benefit from additional help.
Helps Education Fund staff train community volunteers to use academic interventions that have proven effectiveness of improving students’ learning (including but not limited to programs such as HELPS). In addition, a MOVES Coordinator works with the school to ensure that volunteers are assisting in a way that efficiently aligns with the school’s schedule and teachers’ needs.
- your school needs additional resources to support struggling learners
- you would like assistance delivering academic interventions
- you want to learn more about MOVES
- you would like to become a MOVES tutor
Contact us at MOVES@helpseducationfund.org
MOVES maximizes the impact a classroom teacher can have in his or her classroom by providing the teacher with highly trained volunteers who can deliver evidence-based academic interventions to students.
MOVES tutors are individuals who have been trained by Helps Education Fund staff to use research-verified instructional strategies that schools need to help students.
To ensure fidelity of implementation, each tutor is observed using a valid fidelity checklist tool and receives coaching and support as needed.
Rather than hoping all volunteers will already have the teaching skills or an intuitive sense to meaningfully improve students’ learning, through MOVES, they will get the necessary training, coaching, and support to deliver evidence-based academic interventions to students.
No tutoring experience is needed! We just ask that you commit to tutoring for 1 or more hours per week.
If you have questions or would like to become a tutor contact us at MOVES@helpseducationfund.org.
For more than 15 years, we have provided training for educators in the United States and around the world. Our training workshops are free or low-cost, integrate research-based practices, and are fully collaborative to ensure educators are receiving the type of training that will meet their needs and goals. For example, workshops can range from half-day sessions to multi-day sessions, depending on the specific needs of a school, school district, or other educational organization.
Although our workshops focus on preparing educators to effectively use programs or services offered by Helps Education Fund, we welcome inquiries for other types of educational training needs.
For additional information about attending or scheduling a training workshop, please contact Janice Pidgeon at email@example.com.
Coaching and Building Strong Implementation Fidelity
Since 2008, Helps Education Fund has offered a wide range of evidence-based training and support to ensure educators are using our programs effectively.
As most educators know, strategically coaching teachers to use a new program or innovation can be one of the most effective ways to make sure the program is used with fidelity and has the biggest impact on student learning. Unfortunately, not all coaching practices are equally effective.
We developed our coaching procedures and materials using evidence-based practices, collaboration, and an iterative design process to confirm that the practices are effective and feasible in school settings.
Helps Education Fund can provide coaching services (in person or, sometimes, virtually) and we can help to train the educators at your site to use our research-supported coaching procedures and materials.
For additional information about receiving our coaching support, please contact Janice Pidgeon at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Systems-level Support for Academic Interventions
Utilizing our Systems-Oriented Plan for Academic Achievement (SOPAA) approach and evidence-based guidebook, we offer schools, school districts, and other educational organizations various levels of support and coaching to enhance their existing systems for assisting students. Specifically, we focus on systems to support students who struggle to learn foundational skills in reading, writing or math.
Our approach is collaborative, context-informed, and strategic as we collectively work to enhance and sustain systems-level effectiveness and efficiency. We work with schools that have varying strengths, needs, resources, and organizational structures. For example, we often support schools attempting to benefit from models such as RTI or MTSS.
For additional information about our systems-level support, please contact Dr. John Begeny at email@example.com.
Assistance with Program Development
Helps Education Fund staff have collaboratively developed multiple educational programs designed to support educators and students. These staff members will leverage this experience to assist you or your organization with developing or enhancing your educational program of interest. Our areas of expertise include, for example:
- integrating evidence-based educational practices
- creating strategies and materials to improve program usability or effectiveness
- identifying opportunities to incorporate simple but meaningful, formative assessments
- designing ways to observe and measure implementation quality
For additional information about our support with program development, please contact Dr. John Begeny at firstname.lastname@example.org.
High-quality program evaluation requires significant time, resources, and expertise. Helps Education Fund staff have decades of experience with program evaluation in real-world contexts and can potentially assist other education-based organizations with evaluation needs. In keeping with our core values, we are particularly interested in partnering with organizations aiming to evaluate programs that have the potential to enhance educational equity.
For additional information or questions about our support with program evaluation, please contact Dr. John Begeny at email@example.com.