Start Making a Reader Today (SMART) is a volunteer tutoring program designed to provide training and supervision to help community volunteers succeed in tutoring struggling readers in grades 1-2. Children nominated as at-risk by their teachers are tutored 30 minutes a day twice a week through first and second grade. Tutors are given a handbook with simple strategies for reading with children. These focus on letter-sound relationships, predictions, reading stories in many genres, and asking questions about core elements of the texts.
A two-year study compared students in SMART and control classes in urban and rural Oregon. On Woodcock Johnson Word Identification, Passage Comprehension, and Word Comprehension measures, and on DIBELS Oral Reading Fluency, students in SMART scored significantly better than controls (effect size =+0.48), qualifying SMART for the ESSA “Strong” category.