Become a Power Readers Mentor


As we close out the current program year, the EWDC team is working hard to finalize our program plan for school year 2024-25. Mentor registration will open in June and session schedules will be posted over the summer.

Check back here for more details or email us at to be added to our distribution list.

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. Just joyful reading in a judgement-free setting. Through the weekly sessions, children become stronger readers, more confident individuals, and find joy in reading.

For the 2023-24 program year, Power Readers supports students at 7 schools across the DC area and virtually as part of an afterschool program.

Power Readers Locations

  • J.O. Wilson Elementary School (660 K Street NE, DC)
  • Tyler Elementary School (1001 G Street SE, DC)
  • Thomson Elementary School (1200 L Street NW, DC)
  • Van Ness Elementary School (1150 5th Street SE, DC)
  • Savoy Elementary School (2400 Shannon Place SE, DC)
  • Innovation Elementary School (2300 Key Blvd., Arlington, VA)
  • JoAnn Leleck Elementary School (710 Beacon Road, Silver Spring, MD)


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, as well as step-by-step instructions, can be found in our EWDC Clearance Guide. If you have any questions or need assistance, please email

Select from below to access the clearance applications for each jurisdiction:

PLEASE NOTE: Schools do not provide EWDC with copies of completed clearances. Volunteers must send a copy of their clearance to EWDC at Once we have a proof of a clearance on file, a volunteer can be matched with a student. 

See FAQs below for information about the clearance process for virtual mentors and how DCPS allows a federal clearance to replace one step in their process.

Frequently Asked Questions

When does the Power Readers program year begin and end?

Power Readers sessions begin in late September and run through late May, with new mentors joining between September and January of each program year. After February, no new mentor-student matches are made for the year so that reading pairs have sufficient time to connect.


What are the days and times for Power Readers sessions? 

In-person sessions take place during students' combined lunch and recess period (approximately one hour long). Virtual sessions will be on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from approximately 4:30pm-5:15pm. Click here to see our current Power Readers session schedule for program year 2023-24.


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 our Become a Mentor flyer or direct them to send an email to


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. For virtual mentors, please reach out to EWDC at to determine which clearance you need.


Do you have a guide to help volunteers with the clearance process? 

Yes! Our Clearance Guide offers helpful tips and step-by-step directions for volunteers navigating the clearance application process for DC, Arlington, and Montgomery County. Email if you have questions or need assistance.


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 Note: 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 person - MR