POTTSTOWN PA – High honors awards recently were presented to two Pottsgrove High School students – Allyson Lance and Ian Yanusko – in the latest edition of the Wordwright Challenge, a national competition that requires close reading and analysis of many different kinds of prose and poetry, district spokeswoman Beth Trapani announced.
Competing against more than 58,000 other students in 46 states and four foreign countries, Lance, a junior, made only one mistake in extensive testing and placed among the 58 highest-scoring 11th-graders in the nation. Yanusko, a senior, also made only one mistake and placed among the 89 highest-scoring 12th graders. Teacher Todd Kelly oversaw the school’s participation.
The Wordwright Challenge is created by a New Jersey-based organization whose efforts help students prepare for the vocabulary portion of the national SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test) Reasoning Tests, which are a requirement for attending many colleges. Its contests are held four times a year at the students’ home school under a teacher’s supervision.
The premise behind the challenge, Trapani said, is that attentive reading and sensitivity to language are among the most important skills students acquire in school. Questions posed in the challenge ask students to recognize the emotion or rational logic of a piece, as well as to notice the ways in which a writer’s style shapes and shades his or her meaning.
The texts students must analyze can range from short fiction by authors like John Updike, to poetry as old as that of Shakespeare or as recent as that of Margaret Atwood. Students also receive essays: some classic, like those of E.B. White, or current, including those published in Newsweek magazine.
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