Power Readers

Power Readers is a reading-based mentoring program that matches volunteers from the community with elementary school students to read together for an hour a week during the school year.

Unlike other programs, Power Readers does not rely on rigid lesson plans or mandated curriculums. Our mentors are not teaching children to read. Instead, Power Readers is centered on the idea of giving children a safe and judgement-free space to practice their reading and find joy in books. At the same time, the personal attention from a mentor helps students build core social-emotional competencies, something critical to success in the classroom and beyond. 


Jacqueline Sweetney (M) and Allison Chavez-Garcia (S)
Impact Snapshots - for website (landscape)

Power Readers supports students at 6 public elementary schools across the Washington Metro Area. Sessions are offered during the students' lunch and recess period so as not to disrupt classroom learning. Students are recommended to the program by teachers and school staff, but participation is 100% voluntary. Once enrolled, a student can remain in the program, scheduling permitting, until the end of elementary school. 

Power Readers schools include:

  • J.O. Wilson Elementary School (660 K Street NE, DC)
  • Chisholm Elementary School (1001 G Street SE, DC) *formerly Tyler ES
  • Thomson Elementary School (1200 L Street NW, DC)
  • Van Ness Elementary School (1150 5th Street SE, DC)
  • JoAnn Leleck Elementary School (2101 Fairland Road, Silver Spring, MD)
  • Innovation Elementary School (2300 Key Blvd., Arlington, VA)

"Before I came to [Power Readers], I wasn’t that great at reading. I wasn’t on my reading level. But now I am!"

Power Readers Student

"When I first started [Power Readers] I did not read out loud much, so I acted confident on the outside, but was anxious inside. But now I'm confident both inside and out!"

Power Readers Student

"Self confidence has been the biggest areas of impact for students! They love going to their session and feel great when they return!"


"It was wonderful to see [my mentee]'s confidence grow as her reading improved. We built a fun, trusting relationship and enjoyed learning together each week."

Power Readers Mentor

"Students gain self-confidence and a positive attitude toward reading because of their 1:1 relationships with mentors."