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 need 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 to partner in providing early literacy support to students in grades PreK-3rd 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 page 2 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 are in need of additional reading help, children who have limited books in the home, children in need of one-on-one relationships with caring adults, and children 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 also 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 read one-on-one with a volunteer in a 20-minute block. Each volunteer reads with three students per hour. Students choose two books per month to keep.
  • 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.
  • 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 will take place during afterschool 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 students eligible for Free and Reduced Lunch
  • High percentage of economically disadvantaged and minority students identified as high-risk for falling behind in the achievement gap
  • Title I status
  • A Head Start site
  • A PreK site in a Title I school
  • 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
  • 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