Portland, February 16th. “Oh the Places You’ll Go!” was the Sussical theme for the SMART (Start Making A Reader Today) benefit at the Portland Art Museum. The event raised more than $320,000 for the nonprofit. (Photo Credit, Andie Petkus) SMART Board Chair Charles Wilhoite of Willamette Management Associates celebrated with SMART Board Member Patsy Smullin of California Oregon Broadcasting, Inc. as they thanked Melinda Merrill, Director of Public Affairs at Fred Meyer.
If children don’t learn to read by third grade, they can’t read to learn.
SMART (Start Making A Reader Today) recruits thousands of volunteers to read one-on-one with PreK-3rd grade children in need of literacy support. Every week for seven months, volunteers read aloud with kids to help them gain confidence in their reading ability. Educators agree this helps reinforce reading and language skills learned in the classroom. An independent study by the Eugene Research Institute reveals that fifth graders who participated in SMART are 60 percent more likely to reach state reading benchmarks than are similar students who did not participate.*
SMART partners with more than 200 schools that have high populations of children from low income families, as studies show they are less likely to have books in the home. To encourage reading outside the classroom, SMART gives each child 14 new, take-home books—two per month during the course of the program.
Every school year SMART mobilizes up to 10,000 volunteers. The vision of SMART is an Oregon where every child can read and is empowered to succeed.