The SMART (Start Making A Reader Today) program kicked off their 2 Million and Still Reading campaign at Mt. View Elementary on November 5th. The campaign celebrated SMART’s giveaway of two million new books to children state wide over the last 20 years. Twenty five volunteers gathered for the celebration, including Superintendent Dr. Erin Prince, City Mayor Julie Manning, state Rep. Sara Gelser, Benton County District Attorney John Haroldson and many other dedicated volunteers.
SMART, an Oregon based organization, is involved at Mt. View and Lincoln Elementary, along with 260 other sites across the state. The organization hopes to reach 9,000 children this year, totaling over 150,000 children involved since 1991. SMART pairs students with volunteer adults for weekly reading sessions along with providing two new books a month for children to take home. The program hopes to support reading and learning success as well as increased self-confidence for children. SMART emphasizes the importance of strong relationships built between students and volunteers over the love of reading, along with getting books into the home where students are more likely to read with family members. SMART partners with low income schools, targeting children pre-kindergarten through 3rd grade.
A Mt. View kindergarten class joined the celebration Monday morning. Students paired up with volunteers to read a book, place a personalized name plate in it and take the book home.
With over 5,500 volunteers state wide, SMART continues to look for additional volunteers for an hour or more a week. Anyone interested can get more information at www.GetSMARTOregon.org.