Become a Power Readers Mentor

About Power Readers

Power Readers is a one-on-one mentoring program that connects volunteers with elementary school students to read together for one hour a week. No lesson plans, no testing. Instead, the program focuses on creating joyful reading experiences in a judgement-free setting. Through these weekly sessions with a caring mentor, children become stronger readers, more confident individuals, and find joy in reading.

Launched in 1995, Power Readers is EWDC's oldest - and longest running - program and has continuously served children across the greater DC area. Learn more about the Power Readers program and its impact here.

Power Readers Locations

  • J.O. Wilson Elementary School (660 K Street NE, DC)
  • Chisholm Elementary School (1001 G Street SE, DC) *formerly Tyler Elementary School
  • Thomson Elementary School (1200 L Street NW, DC)
  • Van Ness Elementary School (1150 5th Street SE, DC)
  • Innovation Elementary School (2300 Key Blvd., Arlington, VA)
  • JoAnn Leleck Elementary School (2101 Fairland Road, Silver Spring, MD) *new location during school renovation
Alexa Ramos-Ortiz (S) Paul-Anne Robb (M)

Become a Power Readers Mentor

Looking for a meaningful way to have a positive impact on a child's life? Want an easy way to give back to your community? Join Power Readers as a mentor!

Power Readers mentors are matched with a student at the start of each school year. The mentor and student then spend an hour a week together, reading books and stories of their choice. This quality time spent over books helps children build reading confidence and fluency while also helping develop key interpersonal skills.

Mentors must be able to attend weekly in-person Power Readers sessions at their selected school. With school holidays, class trips, and other scheduling events, the commitment is for approximately 25 hours over the course of a school year. Consistent attendance is a requirement.

Want to learn more about what it means to be a Power Readers mentor? Check out our FAQs below or email us at

School year 24-25 Power Readers Schedule Coming in August 2024!


All Power Readers mentors must hold an active volunteer clearance from the jurisdiction in which they plan to mentor. For example, a mentor who reads with a DCPS student needs to obtain a clearance from DCPS. The clearance process is external to EWDC and varies depending on the jurisdiction. More information about the clearance process can be found in our EWDC Clearance Guide. If you have any questions or need assistance, please email

*Schools do not provide EWDC with completed clearances. Volunteers must send a copy of their clearance to Once we have a proof of a clearance, a volunteer can be matched with a student. 

Frequently Asked Questions

When does the Power Readers program year begin and end?

Power Readers is aligned to the school year, with sessions starting in October and running through May. New mentors can join the program in October, November, and December.


What are the days and times for Power Readers sessions? 

Power Readers is held during students' combined lunch and recess period (approximately one hour long), with sessions being offered 2-4 days a week. The session schedule for school year 2024-25 will be released in August 2024. At this time, no afterschool virtual sessions are scheduled for the 2024-25 program year.


Can I help recruit additional mentors?

Yes! EWDC is always looking for more mentors to match with Power Readers students. If you know someone who is interested in mentoring, please share this Power Readers recruitment flyer and ask them to email EWDC at


Is there a requirement to undergo a background check?  

Yes. Power Readers mentors must complete and maintain a background clearance from the jurisdiction in which they plan to read (DC, Arlington, Montgomery County). These processes are external to EWDC and vary depending on the school district.


Can I use my federal clearance in place of the DCPS clearance requirements?

In part, yes. While all volunteers must complete the volunteer application, DCPS allows individuals who have an active secret or top-secret federal security clearance to complete a Federal Security Clearance Verification letter in lieu of being fingerprinted. The signed verification form and a copy of a state issued photo ID should be emailed to There is no similar process for Arlington or Montgomery County.


Do you provide training and support for mentors?  

Yes. All Power Readers mentors must complete a program orientation and are provided additional training and support by EWDC staff. In addition, EWDC staff is on-site at each Power Readers school and supports each session to ensure reading pairs have the support they need.

Imani Muguku (M) and Josue Mendoza Amaya (S) Media Opt In
Judson McDaniel (M) and Erik Morales Tellez (S)