Funding from the Salem Foundation helped SMART Reading provide 7,408 books to 1,107 kids throughout Salem and Marion County from November 2020 – June 2021.
SMART Reading pairs 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 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 than a child who does read proficiently in third grade. Add poverty to the mix, and a student is more than six times less likely to graduate on time than his or her proficient, wealthier peer. According to the 2017-18 Oregon Smarter Balanced Assessment, 53 percent of Oregon third-graders did not meet state reading standards.
Over the years, SMART Reading has steadily grown to become the state’s largest volunteer-driven nonprofit organization devoted to children’s literacy. Since the organization’s inception, SMART Reading has served more than 233,000 children and given away over 3 million books. More than 144,000 volunteers have logged 4.4 million hours reading with children across the state.
The intention of SMART Reading is to positively impact literacy outcomes by providing early reading support, access to books, and community engagement in an equitable and inclusive environment for everyone involved.
The Salem Foundation thanks SMART Reading for their continued support for the community.