New EHS Club Reaches Young Students

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Caspar Dowdy, Editor-in-chief

This year, some young students in District 7 will have the opportunity to get familiar with reading by working with high schoolers.

Reading Ready, a club new to EHS, plans to volunteer at elementary schools, where they’ll read books to students. The goal, according to club founder and sophomore Veda Kommineni, is to give back to younger members of the community.

“There is nothing better than connecting with someone who may be in your shoes a decade down the road,” she said.

And as those students grow older, programs like Reading Ready could provide a foundation for their future learning. Studies like’s 2021 report “America’s Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being” demonstrate the importance of introducing books to children early.

“Reading to young children promotes language acquisition and is linked with literacy development and, in later years, with achievement in reading comprehension and overall success in school,” the report states.

For Kommineni, organizing the club was about more than getting kids interested in books. She remembered being in Kindergarten, and having a high schooler read a book they had written to her.
“It was a silly book about a penguin who didn’t fit in, and I truly thought it was the best book ever,” she said. “She made my week when she came and visited.”

Upon entering high school, she saw that the pandemic had put a stop to programs like the one she benefitted from. Because “there’s so much to learn from kids in our district,” she realized she wanted to bring those programs back.

She was met with support when she approached administration about the idea, who she said has plans to make Reading Ready a “sustainable, frequent program.”

She said that the “open-minded, encouraging faculty” at EHS makes those who want to start a club “lucky.” For students with ideas of their own, she said, a key part of bringing those ideas to reality is determination.

“Even when it seems like no one cares or no one’s joining,” she said, “strive to show them that your organization matters.”

Though Reading Ready has yet to start meeting this year, the idea of helping kids learn led some EHS students, like senior Emily Kennedy, to join early.

“I liked the idea of showing kids that reading and literature can be fun. As a kid, I was a huge reader and I want to spread that same passion to other kids,” she said.

For its first year, Reading Ready plans to visit younger students at least once a quarter, but Kommineni said she’d like her group to make more frequent visits when it becomes possible. For now, the club is waiting until mid-September to find a permanent sponsor.

And while its members wait to officially begin, they have a chance to think about what they can accomplish with the club.

“I hope to instill a love for reading into the kids we read to,” Kennedy said. “I think that would be wonderful.”