Professional Development

Hill Early Literacy Program (HELP) 


The Hill Early Literacy Program (HELP) is an innovative program, designed to help preschool and kindergarten aged children develop specific pre-reading skills that will increase their chances for becoming successful readers.


With funding provided by the Mebane Charitable Foundation, The Hill Center developed a research-based “best practices” early literacy curriculum that brings together critical pre-reading research and creates a model for the successful development of reading skills in young children. The HELP curriculum serves as both a prevention and an intervention model for children at risk for failure to develop critical literacy skills.


Research-based Early Literacy Program

The HELP curriculum is based on several decades of evidence-based research on how children learn to read and write. Studies reveal that early literacy experiences are highly correlated with school achievement and enhanced productivity in adult life. The development of early literacy skills is important for all children, but especially important for children who do not have the advantage of literacy-rich experiences.

Becoming a skilled reader develops over time and requires many opportunities for children to:

  • Build spoken language by talking and listening.
  • Recognize print in books.
  • Manipulate the sounds of spoken language (called phonological awareness).
  • Learn about the letters of the alphabet.
  • Experience books through reading aloud and engage in conversations about the books.
  • Build expressive and receptive vocabulary.

For more information about the HELP program or implementation in your school or district, please contact Denise Morton, Director of Outreach.


3200 Pickett Road
Durham, NC 27705

Phone: 919.489.7464
Fax: 919.489.7466

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