What We Do
Across Oregon, kids aren’t meeting reading benchmarks, despite the efforts of our hard-working educators. We want to change that, but we can’t do it alone.
At SMART Reading, we hold to one simple truth: Reading matters. It’s an early gateway skill that paves the pathway for future success. Without it, kids are simply less likely to graduate high school, find employment, or successfully avoid other hardships like poverty, homelessness, hunger, and injustice.
Lower literacy rates don’t just hurt individual children; they hurt us all. They impact the future health and prosperity of Oregon. They add strain on social and health services, impede our economic growth, and weaken our workforce. Our founders, Oregon business leaders, understood this when they grew a grassroots nonprofit focused on children’s literacy. They understood that literacy is not just our education system’s challenge, but one for local communities, businesses, foundations, congregations, and neighbors. The proverb says, “It takes a village to raise a child.” That’s why we come alongside Oregon’s highest need schools to support kids and brighter futures.
Founded in 1992, SMART Reading is a children’s literacy nonprofit that serves kids in Oregon’s highest need schools with two ingredients critical for literacy and learning success: one-on-one reading time and access to books. We mobilize volunteers to read with PreK through third-grade children, building confidence, literacy skills and a love of reading. SMART Reading provides a meaningful way for Oregonians to make a direct impact in their communities.