Statement of Purpose

SMART (Start Making A Reader Today) is an Oregon nonprofit organization that engages community volunteers to read one-on-one with PreK through third-grade children who could benefit from reading support. Participating children also receive new books each month to keep and read with their families.

SMART is seeking Oregon schools and community organizations throughout the state to partner in providing early literacy support to students in grades PreK through third-grade. SMART provides the books and engages the community through targeted outreach and advocacy. The partnering organization provides the space and support in identifying adult volunteers (see below for a more detailed list).

Background Information

SMART delivers our volunteer reading support and book program to 300 sites throughout Oregon with the help of 5,000 trained volunteers. SMART offers a variety of program delivery models to accommodate a diverse set of educational needs and environments.

  • Standard SMART: The SMART Standard delivery model is our original and most common way to implement the program. In this model, teachers and educators select student participants they feel would benefit most from the program. Students are selected for a variety of reasons including, but not limited to: children who would benefit from one-on-one reading time, children who would benefit from opportunities to increase enjoyment of reading, students who would benefit from selecting their own books to take and keep, and children who are not being served in other programs. Every week for seven months, volunteers read aloud with participating students to help them gain confidence and reading skills. Students read twice a week for 30 minutes, building relationships with two adult volunteers. Students choose two books per month to keep and read with their families.
  • KSMART: KSMART is a SMART program model that serves all students within a kindergarten classroom. Students are divided into three groups and rotate through three different, 20-minute stations. As one group reads one-on-one with SMART volunteers, the other two groups can be engaged in other literacy activities. Students choose two books per month to keep and read with their families.
  • PreK SMART: In an effort to provide critical early literacy support, SMART offers a PreK delivery model that serves the entire prekindergarten classroom. Students read one-on-one with volunteers in 15- or 20-minute sessions; each volunteer reads with three or four students per hour. Students choose two books per month to keep and read with their families.
  • Out-of-School Time (OST) SMART: In light of research proving the importance of out-of-school time (OST) in children’s learning and development, SMART is piloting a new OST SMART model during the 2018-19 school year. This model retains the core elements of SMART: one-on-one reading sessions with trained volunteers and access to books to keep while expanding programming outside of the school day. OST programs take place during after-school programs, in partnership with community organizations, and during the summer.

Site Requirements and Selection

Priority will be given to sites with the following criteria:

  • High percentage of economically disadvantaged and minority students identified as high-risk for falling behind in the achievement gap
  • Compatibility of SMART and school, including factors such as reading space, school culture, and scheduling/time
  • SMART’s current capacity to effectively serve the site
  • Culturally-specific community organizations

Sites are expected to provide the following:

  • A SMART space that is safe, welcoming, and conducive to reading
  • A consistent weekly schedule with time dedicated to SMART
  • Secure/locked storage for books and other materials
  • Support in recruiting a Site Coordinator
  • A three-year minimum commitment to SMART

Application Process

To begin the process of applying to have SMART at your site, please contact your local SMART office. A list of offices and their contact information can be found at If you have any questions about how to get SMART in your school, please contact SMART’s Program Director, Alexis James, at 971-634-1606 or