A couple months ago I got an email with information on a relatively new, FREE fluency program called HELPS. The program is detailed in DEPTH on their website but I’ll share with you how I use it.
(Click the picture to check out the site)
You have to register on the site for free. Easy peasy. Then you get access to the materials. The program is currently only suitable for one-on-one work with students (as many fluency programs are). But there is talk of getting a small group program into development. What I like best about this program, as opposed to many other ones I see like Read Naturally, is that fluency isn’t the only focus and students are getting feedback on their reading. Since the program is one-on-one with an adult, you can easily coach students on ways they need to improve.
Here’s how it works:
First, students are assessed on passages to determine which level of passage they should begin their instruction on. Students have a set fluency goal based on national standards, and also have to meet basic comprehension targets.
Once a level is determined, the program can begin. Students read the passage for 1 minute while the teacher records miscues. At the end, the teacher tallies the miscues to determine if the student is ready to advance. If so, they move on to the next set. If not, the teacher performs a miscue redirection and then the student reads the passage again. At the end of the reading, the teacher reads the passage aloud in cloze style (I think they call it something different but that’s what I’ve called it for years!). Then students read the passage again. If the student passes his/her target, he/she advances to the next passage on the next reading.
Of course, this is a very quick version of the instructions. I’m leaving all of the information regarding goal setting, charting, comprehension, etc. But, the site includes VERY in depth directions and even videos to watch. This makes it a great program for assistants or parent volunteers to learn and use with students.
I’ve been using it with a few students for a couple months now and have started using it with a rotating group of 6. I have seen fantastic progress with one student who has been working on it for months. With my other kiddos, we’ve only been working on it a couple weeks and I’ve hardly seen them. BUT, it’s helped me identify some issues they have as they do first reads and so I’m able to coach them on strategies for our state assessment coming up quickly.
I hope you are able to use this program to help your students as well!
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Hi! I’m Tessa!
I’ve spent the last 15 years teaching in 1st, 2nd, and 3rdgrades, and working beside elementary classrooms as an instructional coach and resource support. I’m passionate about math, literacy, and finding ways to make teachers’ days easier. I share from my experiences both in and out of the elementary classroom. Read more About Me.