Children’s literacy nonprofit SMART Reading has received a $2,500 grant from the Windermere Foundation to continue providing critical reading support to children in Columbia and Clatsop counties.

SMART Check

Pictured are Pam Ackley, left, of Windermere presenting a check to SMART Reading Volunteer Site Coordinator Jeanne Moha.

"The Windermere Foundation is proud to be an ongoing partner and sponsor with the SMART program. Working with children in our communities through the SMART program is a lasting bond that lingers for years beyond just the time spent with them and is a building block or success in their futures," Windermere Foundation representative Pam Ackley said.

Windermere Coast Offices are a member of the Clatsop Association of Realtors.

For three decades, SMART Reading has paired community volunteers with pre-kindergarten through third-grade students for in-person, one-on-one reading sessions. The organization also provides students with new books to keep.

“We’re so grateful to our community partners for their ongoing support,” SMART Reading Executive Director Chris Otis said. “It’s been a challenging year for kids, and the type of support SMART provides - individualized reading sessions and a fun experience with books - is more important than ever.”

Given the ongoing health precautions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, SMART Reading organizers said they have focused on continuing to get books to students - distributing over 2,364 books to students during the 2020-21 school year - and has new virtual models for providing reading support for its students.

For the current school year, SMART Reading is serving 200 students at Pacific Ridge, Warrenton, Astor and Clatskanie elementary schools. Each student will pick out fourteen new books to keep and share with their family.

Recent national studies by Reading Is Fundamental and the Stanford Graduate School of Education show that kids’ progress in reading has been significantly impacted by the pandemic. “This is a huge concern for our community because reading is a gateway skill that opens the door to success in school and beyond,” says SMART Reading Program Manager Paula Seid. “These studies point

to the need for more reading practice time, motivation around reading, and social-emotional support -- all things we provide through our virtual programs, and all things these grants will help fund.”

SMART Reading is a statewide children’s literacy nonprofit that serves children in Oregon’s highest need schools with two ingredients critical for literacy and learning success: One-on-one reading time and access to books.

SMART organizers said they mobilize volunteers to read with Pre K through third-grade children, building confidence, literacy skills and a love of reading.

Since 1992, SMART has paired over 146,000 volunteers to read with 250,000 children, and have put 3 million books in the homes of the children that SMART  serves.

Visit www.SMARTReading.org or call 877-598-4633 to learn more.

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