I’m a retired physician, and I initially got involved in SMART because I have always been interested in children. It was my exposure to some other people who were involved with SMART that finally convinced me.
Over the years, about one student per year would impress me, I did have some favorites over the years. They were so eager and so interested in their books. I would ask them about books at home and in almost every case, if they were very poor readers they had few books at home and no one encouraged them to read.
What SMART does is so important; people who don’t read well are just left out of the loop. It’s terribly important that every child learn to read well and, if possible, develop a keen interest in books. I had children that had quite a library collection at the end of the year and they would recount the books to me – some could name them off, and could easily tell me which ones they had. I think this program reached a number of children, I suspect we did have an impact.
The one hour a week that I spent with SMART was by far the most profitable and interesting to me of any hour of the week that I spent. I looked forward to seeing those kids… it was a boost for them, I hope, and for me.