Grant and SMART Program Partnership

posted Jun 7, 2017, 3:45 PM by Nataly Huerta   [ updated Jun 7, 2017, 3:46 PM ]

SMART Program Overview

The Need

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.[i] Add poverty to the mix, and a student is 13 times less likely to graduate on time than his or her proficient, wealthier peer.  [ii]According to the 2015-16 Oregon Smarter Balanced Assessment, 53 percent of Oregon third-graders did not meet state reading standards.

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 weekly one-on-one reading sessions. Volunteers model the joy of reading, while supporting the child’s efforts to read independently.

The intention of SMART is to provide early reading support, access to books and community engagement to positively impact literacy outcomes and provide equitable opportunity for all kids.

The SMART program complements reading curriculum and instruction and is intended to build confident, lifelong readers who enjoy reading and use it as a tool for learning.


little girl smiling sweetly at her SMART volunteer

SMART was founded on the idea that communities play an important role in supporting children’s education. We support PreK through third-grade children in Oregon to develop the motivation, self-confidence, and reading skills needed to succeed in school and beyond. SMART volunteers in communities across our state contribute their time and talents to help us achieve this goal.

Time commitment: 1 hour per week for a full school year (mid-October through mid-May).

Training requirement: 20-minute online orientation and 1-hour on-site orientation.

How to apply: Contact Erica Heisler 503-391-8423 or email her at . You can apply online as well: All applicants are required to undergo a national criminal background check. Bilingual readers highly encouraged to apply!!!

SMART Readers spend an hour each week during the school year reading one-on-one with Pre-k through third-grade children, modeling and fostering a joy of reading while supporting the child’s efforts to read independently. Our Readers are paired with the same children each week, developing a mentoring relationship with the students they read with over the course of the year. Readers are essential to realizing SMART’s vision of an Oregon where every child can read and is empowered to succeed.