The Annandale National English Honor Society chapter has started the Atoms and Eagles Buddy Readers program hosted by Braddock Elementary School.
The program consists of around 14 members of the honor society, all of whom have made the dedication to visit their elementary school buddy once a week.
The program is held every Thursday from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. where Annandale students walk as a group to Braddock Elementary and help students who have been struggling with reading in school.
The first session of the program was held on Nov. 14 and will continue for the rest of the year.
“The Atoms and Eagles program is a way for NEHS members to be directly involved in our community,” NEHS president Anoosh Taquir said. “Furthering the next generation is something that’s very imperative in our community.”
The program is very meaningful to the students and staff at Braddock Elementary, providing a unique opportunities for struggling kids to be successful in the future.
At the first session of the program, AHS were introduced to the goals of the program and the children at BES. Participants and students engaged in an ice breaker before they paired off.
AHS and BES students were paired off perfectly, 14 volunteers matching with 14 students.
Each volunteer went to a quiet part of the room and engaged in various reading activities with the children.
First, volunteers were encouraged to pick books out of the designated bins for learning.
The volunteers and students were assigned to read the books they chose together.
Volunteers took different approaches to how they were going to help their reading buddy.
“The book my buddy chose was pretty difficult compared to her level,” senior Thomas Chang said. “We spent a lot of time on that one book.”
Some volunteers even chose to discuss the books contents after reading.
After the volunteers and students read a couple of the designated books, the children were encouraged to pick some books of their choice off the shelf.
Students were also encouraged to read aloud to their AHS buddies as they helped them when needed.
“The whole thing went by really fast,” Chang said. “But I really enjoyed the experience and felt that I had really made a difference.”
The goal of the whole program is, indeed, to make a difference for the kids and the community as a whole.
“The program has allowed us to create a bond with a student at Braddock Elementary and show them the importance of reading,” Taquir said.
Not only is the opportunity a great learning experience for AHS students and BES students, NEHS members earn quick points; completing their 10 point obligation fast.
However, points are not the incentive. NEHS members have made a commitment to bettering their community and the lives of their buddies.
“I want to help my buddy progress with their reading so they can be better off in the classroom,” Chang said.