At SMART Reading, our goal is to positively impact literacy skills and outcomes by providing early reading support for learners, access to books, and community engagement in a fun, inclusive environment for everyone involved. One of the primary ways we do that is through facilitating shared reading opportunities – kids and volunteers reading together with the goal of building reading engagement and motivation, two key factors in literacy development. 

In our original shared reading model, One-to-One SMART, a trained volunteer is paired with a student for weekly, in-person child-guided reading sessions that last between 15 and 30 minutes. Every week for seven months, volunteers model the joy of reading and/or support the child’s efforts to read independently during shared reading experiences. Students also choose two books per month to keep and read with their families to help continue their learning.

How are students selected for shared reading experiences? 

Teachers select students they feel would benefit most from the program for a variety of reasons, including those who would benefit from one-on-one reading time, opportunities to increase enjoyment of reading, selecting their own books to keep, and readers who are not being served in other programs. 

What are the benefits of shared reading for students? 

  • Individualized, one-on-one reading time that complements classroom literacy instruction
  • Opportunities for positive adult attention and relationship-building, resulting in increased literary skills and confidence
  • Access to books—each student chooses two books to keep each month, increasing literacy opportunities outside the classroom
  • Opportunities for student choice – kids select their own books to read and whether to read aloud, listen to their volunteer read, or both
  • Increased engagement—kids are more engaged in reading text and more likely to finish books that they get to pick out themselves
  • Increased connection between community volunteers and schools

What are the outcomes for learners?

  • Research shows that readers who participated in SMART Reading are 60% more likely to reach state reading benchmarks
  • By the end of the year, 9 in 10 students grow in their enjoyment of reading
  • 88% of students show increased confidence in reading
  • 93% of parents say their child benefited significantly from participating in SMART, including demonstrating improved reading skills and spending more time reading

What do educators say?

“SMART makes it so that my kids are excited about reading. They love the chance to see new books and get to know new people. The more they read, the more confident they get. They crave consistency and having someone here every week to read to them is vital. We want to create that love and want for reading in our students. The book that they receive at the end of reading is just incredible. I love seeing them compare what they got and get excited about adding to their libraries at home.”

          – Oregon Teacher