In March 1995, a bipartisan group of Senators and Senate staff, led by Senators Jim Jeffords and Paul Simon, left their offices and walked to Brent Elementary School to read with students for one hour each week.
Those first reading sessions laid the foundation for what is now a region-wide reading-based mentoring initiative. Unlike tutoring programs, this one-on-one shared reading experience focuses on building relationships that help students develop literacy and social-emotional skills needed to thrive at school and in life.
During school year 2021-22, EWDC will offer Power Readers sessions to our traditional schools, as well as to community partners and charter schools. Additionally, Power Readers will be available via three delivery models: all-virtual, in-person (as public safety guidelines, school/district policies, and capacity allow; likely Spring 2022), and a hybrid model.
Through this hybrid model, EWDC staff will collaborate with school- and service-site partners to coordinate virtual Power Readers sessions which are administered in-person by our staff during and after school. With the help of program staff, students will connect to their virtual sessions in the designated EWDC space, while the volunteers log in from home.
We hope that bringing the students together – in the same physical space – for Power Readers mimics the communal fellowship of the traditional group setting, while also adding valuable support to school and community sites in need of additional on-site, distanced programming. Additionally, the hybrid model allows for an easier transition back to traditional site-based volunteer programming as that option arises.