There’s a well-known proverb that states, “A child who reads, will be an adult who thinks.” This idea is the inspiration for the 8th-grade Reading Buddies service learning program in which Bosque School students model good reading for younger children in an elementary school classroom. For years, Bosque School’s 8th-graders have participated in this long-standing program, and while the program was paused due to the pandemic, it was recently reinstated due to the concerted effort of our community engagement coordinators, Zach Lang and Alison Trimmer, and Bosque School parent, Amy Nims.
In the past, the Reading Buddies program was run in conjunction with CYFD New Mexico, but this year, we took the opportunity to partner with Armijo Elementary, where Amy Nims is the school librarian. Armijo Elementary is a Title I school that offers a dual-language program for students who are still developing their English language skills. This presented a unique opportunity for the Reading Buddies program as it gave Bosque School students the chance to practice their Spanish skills, while the Armijo students benefited from a personalized English-speaking buddy.
Over the last couple of months, the trips to Armijo have been a highlight for both groups and often provided the students with some of their favorite moments from the week. Maya ‘26 said, “It was really cool to not only be able to practice my Spanish skills, but also help them learn more English. It was awesome hearing about how they were excited about us being there and the positive difference we made.” Elia ‘26 continued, “I really enjoyed reading to the students who are learning English and getting to bond with them and help them develop their English skills more.”
The 8th graders traveled to Armijo Elementary once a month where they read, bonded, and laughed with their buddies. “I personally have enjoyed seeing another side to our 8th-grade students. Not only have they challenged themselves to take risks by reading in Spanish and mentoring a younger student, but they have reflected on their own experiences, including the fortune of having access to literacy and reading. I have always believed that service is not only what you give to others, but what you gain as well, and this has truly been the case with this program,” said Anne Gegg, 8th-grade dean.
The 8th-grade class is looking forward to inviting their buddies to campus for a Reading Buddies celebration in the final week of school to close out such an incredible experience. Dain ‘26 stated, “It felt really nice to have a positive effect on the children I was reading to. I was able to apply skills that I’ve learned at Bosque School.” Noah ‘26 summarized his experience beautifully when he said, “It was really nice to read to an audience that just wants to listen and enjoy the book with you.”
Armijo Elementary’s librarian, Amy Nims, was especially excited to be a part of the Reading Buddies program. She said, “I am thrilled to be collaborating on this project and have thoroughly enjoyed watching it develop over the past few months. As both a Bosque parent and an Armijo teacher, it warms my heart to see how fully both groups of students have embraced the program and how quickly their attachments have formed. Having their reading buddies visit Armijo is a highlight of our kindergarten and 1st-grade students’ week. For them, the time spent with their 8th-grade buddy is not only an opportunity to share the joy of reading, it’s also a bonding experience with a fun, engaging ‘big kid.’ Not all of our students have an abundance of positive role models in their lives, so the time and one-on-one attention the 8th graders are giving them is truly a gift.”