Here in DC, only 23% of 4th graders and 17% of 8th graders read at the proficient level or above – and they are at risk of failing academically and socially. Annually serving more than 5,000 children in 36 low-income elementary schools in the District, EW!DC's Power Lunch Program pairs kids with adult reading mentors (from Capitol Hill, government agencies, and businesses) who introduce them to literature, serve as caring role models, and inspire in them a love of reading. Many pairs stay together for years, and below-grade-level reading decreases annually from a dangerous 61% to an improved 34%. StoryTime introduces kids to authors and illustrators who help them see behind the pages and discover how stories come to life. EW!DC has served more than 55,000 students and distributed to them nearly 182,000 new books. Your generosity changes their lives.
EWDC has reimagined its traditional one-on-one mentoring and group reading events so that for students, families, and school communities it can continue to build connections through books – albeit on virtual platforms. A new set of online shared reading activities in which adult volunteers can also engage – book clubs, an on-demand video library, family workshops – have been designed to meet needs identified by families and school leaders while children remain at home and distanced from their peers, teachers, and other members of the community.