SMART Program

The third-grade reading level is widely recognized as a key indicator of a child's future educational success. A student who can't read on grade level by third grade is four times less likely to graduate; by age 19 than a child who does read proficiently in third grade. In 2011, more than 7,140 Oregon third graders were reading below benchmark levels. Add poverty to the mix, and a student is 13 times less likely to graduate on time than his or her proficient, wealthier peer.  

Currently, about one in five Oregon children are living in poverty. Research proves that shared book reading and the availability of books in the home during a child’s first, formative years are the strongest predictors of early literacy skills. SMART provides both.

The Concept
The program concept is simple: pair an adult volunteer with children for two, one-on-one 30-minute reading sessions. Children read with two different volunteers each week for seven months, totaling up to 28 hours of individual volunteer attention. Volunteers model the joy of reading while supporting the child’s efforts to read independently. The intention of SMART is to provide a literacy experience that entices children into books and reading, supports children’s efforts to learn to read and celebrates their successes. The SMART program complements reading curriculum and instruction and is intended to build confidence, lifelong readers who enjoy reading and use it as a tool for learning.

For more information about SMART,