NEHS Mystery Readers build community and literacy skills for elementary students

Washingtonville High School junior, Julia Malkin, realized early in the pandemic that this was an especially difficult time for elementary school students who were missing out on important daily interactions. To continue bringing friendly faces and voices to these students, Julia and fellow member of the National English Honor Society (NEHS), Angelica Tripodianos, created the virtual Mystery Readers program.

Student holding up a children's book to a virtual audience

Executed in collaboration with Little Britain Elementary School, Principal Sagrario Rudecindo-O’Neill made book recommendations that complemented learning units and school celebrations, such as Women’s History Month and musical traditions around the world.

Under the guidance of club adviser Nadia Bac, NEHS volunteers —Julia Ariano, Laine Blatt, Isavella Croce, Nicolette Englehart, DeLisa Harper, Julia Malkin, Julia Moreno, Emma Rudzinski, Autumn Snoop, and Steven Tripodianos—used their lunch period to record themselves reading to their younger peers using Google Meet. The recordings were then sent to Little Britain to be shared with students learning in person or remotely.

“I didn’t expect to have such a great time reading to the kids, albeit only to the computer,” said Emma

Student sitting at her desk and computer reads from a children's book

Rudzinski. “But it was quite relaxing to do so, and I did learn quite a bit about my book's focus, Hedy Lamarr.”

“I absolutely enjoyed the mystery reader program, for my first time it was awesome!” said DeLisa Harper. “I had fun and, not only were the books amazing, I also benefited from some of them as well! It’s nice to have the realization that you are doing this for kids and that they will love it, too! The program is great and is being executed perfectly!”