A state literacy program is seeking volunteers for just one hour a week at local schools.

The nonprofit educational organization Start Making A Reader Today is looking for volunteers to read to students at Forest Grove and Cornelius schools.COURTESY PHOTO: START MAKING A READER TODAY  - Echo Shaw, Free Orchards and Joseph Gale elementary schools need volunteers to provide one-on-one reading support for students.

"Volunteers are critical to SMART's ability to bring the love of reading and learning to thousands of children across Oregon each year," said communications manager Phoebe Petersen in a statement. "Volunteers have been at the heart of SMART's work since its founding 27 years ago."

The organization is looking for 20 reading volunteers who can provide one-on-one reading support to more than 70 children at Echo Shaw, Free Orchards and Joseph Gale elementary schools. Volunteers are needed for one hour per week.

SMART, offered to students in pre-kindergarten through the third grade in Oregon, works to help every child learn how to read, and feel empowered to succeed, Petersen said. The one-on-one reading sessions provide a "fun, child-guided experience that builds reading skills, self-confidence and a love of reading."

The program is Oregon's largest volunteer literacy program, and more than 11,300 children across the state will benefit from its services this school year, according to Petersen. Children who participate in the program also receive more than a dozen new books throughout the school year, which they get to keep and read with their families.

"SMART volunteers make a tremendous difference in the lives of local children," senior program manager Stacy Goodwin stated. "In fact, more than 95 percent of students participating in SMART show improvement in literacy development."

To learn more, or to sign-up to volunteer, call 971-634-1628, or visit

By Olivia Singer
Reporter, Forest Grove News-Times and Hillsboro Tribune
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