Wednesday, November 28, 2007


Start Making A Reader Today (SMART) is part of the educational system at our neighborhood school here in Newberg and elsewhere in Oregon, also. It utilizes volunteers to read with early el kids who either need more practice or enrichment. Aleene volunteered last year and after "himing and hawing," I jumped in this week.

Monday was my first day and I subbed for a woman we know from church. Aleene was supposed to take it, but she was volunteering at FISH (our neighborhood food bank) which she does on, since I was all signed up for Tuesday anyway, after clearing it with the coordinator, I went Monday.

I had two second graders that day. Cute little kids. You have them alone for a half hour. It was book give away day so we went through that process and then they read to me.

Yesterday I began my own schedule which is one hour on Tuesday at noon. I have two kindergarteners. They are pushing the K group now since the other grades are pretty much filled. That is quite a contrast for one noon elementary kids and at 6:00 I was with my 14 adults studying HR stuff.

The volunteers range from people in their eighties to some stay at home moms. Aleene knows most of the people who she has interacted with over the past year. I, of course, know only a couple.

Edwards is our neighborhood school and it is easy for us to help there. It is Truman's school, it is about five blocks from us and we usually walk (another three minute walking trip close to home.) Edwards has a high percent of minority kids, so, it would stand to reason that there is more need there with language sometimes being their only barrier to becoming good readers. The other schools around town have a little more upscale clientèle. So we chose to volunteer at Edwards. Some of our acquaintances who live closer to other schools send their kids to Edwards just to have a more diverse experience with their kids, which is interesting.

I got along fine. The coordinator (who reminds me of Phoebe VanDragt) came to my table between kids and asked if I would be willing to sign a form that said I had received training on SMART. She said she was ok with asking me to sign because I had subbed the day before...laughingly. I whispered that I had been an elementary principal thirty years ago. She looked at me and said something to the effect that I must have been just a kid back then. know the history...yea, at 36 I was just a kid, but old enough to be president of the US. Anyway, she was glad to have me and the kids were fun to be with, although the little boy had gas about ten minutes into the session. That reminded me of Betty Logston when I was principal telling me when I went into her portable Title 1 unit to visit once..."The kids are pretty gassy today." Ah the memories. Yep, the kids were gassy and Phoebe and Betty trained me I mean Irene did, so I signed the form.

I am now an official member of SMART.

1 comment:

SLB said...

Edwards sounds a lot like Fennville with the diversity. Those kids are lucky to have such great and highly qualified people working with them!! I helped kids pick out books today at the book fair.