Ever since the rise of the COVID-19 pandemic, early education has been turned on its head. Everything has gone virtual, and teachers are now expected to be able to effectively teach a full class of kids entirely over video chat. As a result, countless great tools of learning have become futile, as they simply cannot be simulated over video -- one such tool being group reading. Group reading used to take place multiple times a day and served as a great method for not only absorbing material, but also developing reading and speaking skills. I believe group reading is crucial for the development of young students, and my aim is to save it by transforming it into a fun, digital experience.

What it does

Reading Buddy facilitates virtual group reading in a fun and engaging way. With its color coordinated highlighting and live statistics, you and your peers are bound to have a productive reading experience that will beat doing it over a screen-share every time.

How we built it

The backend was developed using Node.js, Express.js,, and Google Chrome's built-in Speech Recognition API. The frontend was developed using HTML, SCSS, and jQuery. It's currently deployed to Heroku.

Challenges we ran into

Defining the logic for the word-matching algorithm was by far the most difficult challenge. It involved two parts: a client-side algorithm that would have to choose which spoken words to send to the server (sending every single utterance would flood the sockets), and a server-side algorithm that would have to compare the spoken words to the text -- a lot more complex than it sounds.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

I'm honestly just proud of the idea. It's 100% original and can actually serve as a great tool for virtual learning.

What we learned

I learned that trying to center a div can take 3 hours.

What's next for Reading Buddy

I have a list full of features that I wanted to add but unfortunately wasn't able to get to, but will eventually add through my free time. Some include chat, quizzes/polls, emoji reactions, annotations, and more!

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