By Brianna Keilar, CNN White House Correspondent
Washington, D.C (CNN) - Schools face a staggering literacy problem here in the nation's capital and lawmakers and congressional staffers from both sides of the aisle are trying to do something about it.
Every week, just four blocks from the Capitol, many of them read to students at Brent Elementary School.
They're part of the "Power Lunch" program put on by Everybody Wins ! DC, a nonprofit literacy group serving 38 Title I schools in the nation's capital, where many students live at or near the poverty line.
Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and his Chief of Staff Brian Ahlberg mentor a first- grader named John.
"It's something I look forward to," says Harkin. "They say the kids get a lot of it but I think we get a lot out of it, too."
At the next table in the school library, Summer Mersinger, a top aide to Sen. John Thune (R-SD), reads to another child.