Janet was introduced to SMART when the program started at the elementary school across the street from her daughter’s middle school in 1993. Her daughter’s teacher, Mrs. Colvin, had encouraged her students to take part in this new volunteering opportunity, so Janet decided to join her daughter. Every week, the two of them would read for one hour with students who needed extra literacy support. The next year, Janet’s daughter was unable to volunteer due to scheduling restraints with school, but Janet continued with the program.
As a retired teacher of 2nd and 3rdgrade, Janet notes that SMART offers that extra boost that children need to improve their reading skills. She has observed that many children come from one-parent families that don’t have the time to sit down and read a story with them at the end of a day.
Janet shared a story about a 2nd grade SMART student named Chance, who one day enthusiastically proclaimed, “I can read that!!” when he realized he could understand the sign that noted it was “Take Home Book Day” at SMART. “When children have a familiarity with books and stories,” Janet said, “They are more excited about learning to read.”