About Readers Are Leaders

Readers Are Leaders is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in Herndon, Virginia. We recruit high school teams to mentor and become role models for at-risk elementary school readers. Our goal is to promote growth for both our student-athletes and our young readers.

Our Vision

Readers Are Leaders Students & Mentor

IMAGINE our high school student-athletes stepping up to the challenge of being role models and mentors in our communities.

IMAGINE struggling or uninterested young readers going one-on-one with athletes from the high school team—a one-on-one that takes place not on a basketball court or athletic field but at a reading table. And IMAGINE these struggling students finding the encouragement, support, and high expectations that will lead to their enthusiasm and growth as readers.

IMAGINE these high school student-athletes changing as they invest their time to help these kids—changing because they begin to understand the responsibility and power of being a role model, and changing because they have developed bonds with these younger students and helped them experience the rewards of reading.

IMAGINE further that this shared experience will plant the seeds of a life-long commitment to service and responsibility for both the young readers and the student-athletes.

And finally, IMAGINE a program that not only shapes these elementary and high school students in such positive ways, but also has a significant impact on the culture of their schools and communities. This is the vision that is being realized by the Readers Are Leaders program.

Overview From the Founder

Wendell Bryd

The Readers Are Leaders program offers a path to success for struggling elementary school readers by creating opportunities for growth and achievement. We target students who need a helping hand today so that they may become the responsible citizens, problem solvers, and leaders of tomorrow.

Coaches involve their student-athletes in this program to present opportunities for them to grow by reaching out to others. These athletes become role models and coaches, offer their friendship, patience, encouragement, and enthusiasm as they help struggling or unmotivated students become more positive, engaged, and capable students who are more ready and willing to move up the academic ladder. Our athletes often begin to see the value of community service—a service that brings out the best in them as they bring out the best in their young partners.

Elementary school administrators join the program because they have a population of at-risk readers who need an extra push to help them become successful. Once they see the personal and academic growth of their students, they invite us back year after year.

Our struggling readers usually respond well to focused, one-on-one mentoring. They see themselves as special because a high school student-athlete cares enough about them to help them improve. These students will often develop a more positive and rewarding attitude about reading, more confidence in themselves, and a stronger sense of belonging in a community that cares.

We build a team that includes dedicated educators and generous sponsors. It is the commitment, support, and enthusiasm of these student-athletes, educators, and sponsors that are responsible for the growth of our young readers and for the success that the program has achieved. Together we have built a mentorship program that has helped at-risk readers develop, succeed, and enjoy reading.

Interested in bringing Readers Are Leaders to your school?

Take the first step toward building a successful partnership.

Get Started

Corporate Sponsors