Over 1.8 million nonprofits and charities for donors, volunteers and funders

SMART (Start Making A Reader Today)

904 pageviews

Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Education, Educational Services, Literacy, Preschools, Primary & Elementary Schools, Remedial Reading & Encouragement

Mission: SMART's vision is "An Oregon where every child can read and is empowered to succeed". In order to realize our vision, SMART engages community volunteers to read one-on-one with PreK through third-grade children who need reading support. Participating children also receive new books each month to keep and read with their families.

Target demographics: children, education

Direct beneficiaries per year: 10,000 children

Geographic areas served: Oregon

Programs: Founded in 1991, SMART is a nationally recognized, statewide nonprofit organization with a network of volunteers, educators, donors, and advocates across Oregon who are banding together to empower children for more successful futures through books and reading. SMART's proven model engages community volunteers across the state to read one-on-one with PreK through third-grade children for one hour per week during the school year. SMART students also receive up to 14 new books to take home and keep each year. Funded overwhelmingly by private sources, the SMART program complements reading curricula and instruction, and is intended to build confident, lifelong readers who enjoy reading and use it as a tool for learning. Learning to read is one of the most important steps in a child's life, laying the foundation for future knowledge and education. Prevailing research proves that shared book reading and the availability of books in the home during a child's formative years are the strongest predictors of early literacy skills. SMART provides both. During the 2015-16 school year, SMART delivered one-on-one reading support to 10,100 children and gave away 163,557books. This was possible in part thanks to 5,000 volunteers statewide who together contributed over 126,000 hours of volunteer time. Over the past 24 years, SMART has served 188,000 children with the help of over 125,000 volunteers. Through SMART, children have taken home more than 2.4 million books and spent nearly 4 million hours reading one-on-one with trained volunteers. Most importantly, we know the program works. An independent study by the Eugene Research Institute found that fifth-graders who participated in SMART as first-graders were 60 percent more likely to meet state reading benchmarks than similar students who did not participate. In annual surveys, teachers, parents, and school administrators consistently say that SMART makes a significant impact on students’ reading skills, confidence, motivation, and enjoyment. Join us as a volunteer and make a difference in the life of a child in your community.

Community Stories

10 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Gail70

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered with SMART for ten years, five years as a reader and five as a site coordinator. This is a great program! Each child reads twice a week for 30 minutes per session. Once a month the children get to choose 2 books to keep. Volunteers read for an hour with the same two children for 30 minutes each, all year. It is so rewarding to see these kids grow as readers and people. This is a fabulous literacy program but it is also a mentorship, relationship building program. I have seen kids walk into our room having a rough day and 30 minutes later they leave with a smile on their face. Good times!

Jody37

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I love being a reader and volunteer because it allows me to give to my community without giving a ton a time. Plus seeing my kiddos engage in reading is always heartwarming. And I like how organized everything is!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

In 20 years as a volunteer reader I saw first-hand what a difference SMART makes in the lives of the student readers. Just 2 hours per week is a huge boost in their success at learning this critical skill. SMART is an outstanding organization helping thousands of children every year.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've worked with SMART on communications projects and find their staff to be top-notch and their commitment to their mission unwavering. They are organized, treat their volunteers well and make a difference in communities around the state. Thanks, SMART!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

After my first year of reading I can't wait to start again! I think think this program really makes a difference to the kids. The site coordinator ran it very well. I had a very positive experience.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a SMART volunteer for 13 years at the same elementary school in East Portland. I love this program! Nothing better than an excited child coming through the door, a smile on their face, marching over to the books to select the day's choice & settling in beside you to read it. When I first started, I was amazed, and sad, at how many children weren't read to at home and/or had no or few books at home. We make a difference and, yes, it does take a Village....these children are our future! Get Involved, Become A Volunteer!

1 Katie161

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was a SMART reader for the first time during the 2015-2016 school year and looked forward to it every week. I enjoyed seeing their confidence grow in regards to reading and pronunciation. But mostly I loved seeing their curiosity get bigger as they learned that books have so much to offer.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a SMART reader for nearly a decade. It is the highlight of my week to spend an hour with two young aspiring readers and to watch their love of and confidence in reading grow. SMART has been serving children throughout Oregon for 25 years and served over 10,000 children last year alone.

1 fkukla

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a SMART volunteer in Oregon for 5 years and love it! It's so enjoyable for students as well as the volunteers. As a volunteer, you can see the progress of the kids on a week to week basis. It's so enjoyable remaining friends with the kids that you've read with years ago - they will always remember that you were their SMART reader. SMART is one of the best nonprofit organizations I've had the privilege of being involved with. If you enjoy working with kids (preschool - 2nd grade), I highly recommend that you consider volunteering for SMART.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 4

It was so much fun being a reading mentor with the Oregon SMART program. It was great to see how excited students would be for their reading time! I only wish I had known about the program sooner. I volunteered during my last two quarters at the U of O and would have loved to help more kids discover the joy of reading.