What We Do
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 hardships like poverty, homelessness, hunger and other injustices.
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 and marginalized communities with two ingredients critical for literacy and learning success: shared reading time and books to keep. We mobilize volunteers to provide reading support and access to books for children from birth to 8th grade, helping to build confidence, literacy skills, and a love of reading. SMART Reading provides a meaningful way for Oregonians to make a direct impact in their communities.