“I own this,” Annie Teav remembers thinking the first time she got to choose a book to keep from SMART Reading. It was one of the first books she ever owned, and she was excited to show it to her family.
At home, she was immersed in a busy family life, and reading was not a high priority. Her parents worked twelve hour shifts in a manufacturing plant and Annie was raised primarily by her grandparents, who spoke many languages, but not English.
When Annie started school, she picked up English quickly, but did not develop a strong relationship with reading. “I needed someone to make it more than a chore,” she says. SMART Reading helped Annie see the joy in reading. Years later, she remembers the cozy sound of rain on the roof as she shared a book with her SMART Reading volunteer, and says she always left her reading sessions feeling good about herself and what she was accomplishing.
As an adult, she returned to SMART Reading as a volunteer, inspired by the both the fond memories she has of the program, and her commitment to public service. “I feel a sense of needing to be involved in public service because I saw other adults do it through SMART Reading,” she says. “I think that modeling was important.”
SMART Reading also instilled in Annie the importance of education. While her family imbued her with a strong belief in hard work, her SMART Reading volunteers affirmed the value of education in every reading session. She went on to double major in Finance and Supply Chain Logistics at Portland State University, and now works as a Strategic Sourcing Contract Administrator for Multnomah County.