stories from the SMART community:

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Janae

I was an early reader, but standardized tests in third grade brought to my teacher’s attention that I wasn’t comprehending the way I should. Mrs. Jordan worked with me for an hour a week, and by the third grade, I was reading at an eleventh grade level. I am living proof that one person can […]

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Rachel Lawrence, Multnomah County

One year I read with a 2nd grade boy named Rico. He was quiet and reserved and was new to the school still trying to make friends. One of those ‘tough guys’ that tried to maintain a cool composure and make sure he was impressing the rest of the students. He loved to read Dr. […]

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Jen Ashley, Lane County

I came from a small town in Merrill, Ore. where the most popular class was ESL. Needless to say, teaching was a challenge. Being that I was one of the few kids not in ESL who had a stable home life, extra attention wasn’t given to me and my studies. Learning to read was a […]

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Beth, Lane County

My SMART experience has been rewarding in many ways. When I met my reader, she was a very energetic and talented kindergartener! Being able to choose her own book(s) was awesome and made reading fun. We hit it off from day one. How fortunate the next year, I was assigned the same reader, now a […]

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Kent Lewis, Multnomah County

In 2000, a co-worker invited a SMART representative to our offices to talk about the literacy program. Having been a mentor and Big Brother in the past, I was immediately intrigued by the opportunity to help young students with reading readiness. I realized the impact of literacy as a future predictor of success (or failure) […]

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Renee Jones, Lane County

I was having a hard time connecting with one of my new little guys. He seemed uninterested, always sat with his arms crossed, and he kept insisting, “I can’t read.” I had to find a way to get him to realize that he could indeed read, so I came in early on one of our […]

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Beth Karlin, Multnomah County

Twenty years ago, I worked for Wieden & Kennedy. Dan Wieden encouraged all of us to volunteer for SMART and made it easy for us to do so. He gave us an hour every week to read with our SMART students and invited them into the agency for celebrations. He eventually started a camp for […]

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Maggie, Deschutes County

As a third grader, I was taken out of class to sit with volunteers to practice reading. Unfortunately, my memories were not great. I always had an an unsettled feeling surrounding reading. Even into my early adult life. I do not remember being teased by classmates but I do remember the shame I felt having […]

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