Wednesday, February 1, 2017
A Close Reading of the Text Reveals ...
Several students representing Pottsgrove High School recent won high honors in this year's WordWright Challenge, a competition for American high school students requiring close reading and analysis of many different kinds of prose and poetry.
In the year's second meet, held in December, freshman Hailey Ellwanger, sophomores Anita Ghorpade and Peter McNamara, juniors Ashley Flint and Karli Tellis and seniors Jasmine Hughes, Nathan Smith and Nate Yuchimiuk all earned near-perfect scores, placing among the 133 highest-scoring ninth graders; the 187 highest-scoring tenth graders, the 167 highest-scoring eleventh graders and the 250 highest-scoring twelfth graders nationwide.
More than 64,000 students from 48 states entered the meet.
Pottsgrove's participation was overseen by Todd Kelly.
the premise behind the WordWright Challenges is that attentive reading and sensitivity to language are among the most important skills students acquire in school.
The texts students must analyze for the challenge can range from short fiction by Eudora Welty or John Updike, to poetry as old as Shakespeare's or as recent as Margaret Atwood's and, to essays as classic as E.B. White's, or as current as James Parker's cultural commentary in The Atlantic.
Though the texts vary widely in voice, subject, tone and length, they all have one thing in common -- style.
All use language skillfully to convey layers and shades of meaning, not always apparent to students on a first or casual reading. Like the questions on the verbal SAT and Advanced Placement exams, the questions posed by the WordWright Challenge ask students both to recognize the emotional and/or rational logic of a piece of writing and to notice the ways in which a writer's style shapes and shades his meaning.
The texts for the second WordWright Challenge meet this year were a pair of poems by Richard Wilbur and Alastair Reid for 9th and 10th graders; and a short story by Michael Byers for 11th and 12th graders.
The students will participate in two more meets over the coming months and medals and certificates will be awarded in June to those who achieve and/or improve the most in the course of the year.