stories from the SMART community:

Have something to share?
Story from:

Peggy Murphy, Multnomah County

I’ve read in SMART since 2002. I’ve had two kindergarten children who learned to read before the end of the year — boy, was that exciting! I’ve also had two 2nd grade boys who struggled with reading. One would only read the “Bob” books, which have 2-3 simple words on each page. By the end of the […]

Posted in Stories | Leave a comment
Story from:

E Nelson, Washington County

I have been a SMART volunteer for three years and will not give it up as long as my legs will get me to the school. I so love reading, so watching a child go from “I hope ya know you are reading to YOURSELF!” to actually hearing them read to you is thrilling. The fine teachers […]

Posted in Stories | Leave a comment
Story from:

Tawnya Ison, Jackson County

I rock. That’s what my first young SMART reader wrote on a drawing he gave me on our last day together. He drew a lovely picture of a rainbow with flowers everywhere and in huge letters he wrote “Thank you SMART reading buddy – you rock!” That drawing hangs on my wall at home so […]

Posted in Stories | Leave a comment
Story from:

Laura Strickland, Multnomah County

I still remember every kid I read to over the years, and wonder where they are now. Sometimes it was tough to tear myself away from work for that half hour that was dedicated to SMART, but at the end of that half hour, I never failed to leave without a huge smile plastered on […]

Posted in Stories | Leave a comment
Story from:

Bonnie Hill, Multnomah County

I volunteered for 3 years. The most memorable was a 1st grade boy who pretended he knew how to read and he had some behavior problems. He was very smart as he would find clues from the pictures and prompting from the other reader. The “ah-ha” moment came and he became a fluid reader. I […]

Posted in Stories | Leave a comment
Story from:

Lee Ann Barth, Washington County

In my book, SMART is a win-win-win! A win for the student who gets extra “fun” reading time to build their skills (if a child can read, they can do anything); a win for me, the volunteer reader, who gets to discover fun new books and how to help a child improve reading skills; and […]

Posted in Stories | Leave a comment
Story from:

Tanya Offerdahl, Clackamas County

I have been a SMART volunteer for two years and I look forward to my reading days every week. I love getting to see the progress my students make throughout the school year. My first year in SMART my two students would not read, so I read to them every week. By the end of […]

Posted in Stories | Leave a comment
Story from:

Dea’Naisa Willingham, Multnomah County

I am just turning 20 years old and was one of the first SMART students at Vernon Elementary School. My love for reading was founded on the SMART Reading program. I remember being so excited to get out of class and go read with my mentor and go on mini adventures in my head while […]

Posted in Stories | Leave a comment
Story from:

Patty Turner

After years of volunteering in our childrens’ classrooms, when our youngest entered 8th grade, I knew it was time for me to move on, too. So I went back to the beginning–reading with young students. This fall will be my 10th year of reading at the same school. I love the weekly time spent with […]

Posted in Stories | Leave a comment
Story from:

Joe Galati, Principal at Chief Joseph Elementary, Multnomah County

SMART has been invaluable at Chief Joseph Elementary in North Portland for the past 15 years. In that time, the SMART Volunteers have provided a service that has been responsible for creating a love of reading for both our students and for our volunteers. The smiles on both the volunteer and the student are something […]

Posted in Stories | Leave a comment