Divine Savior Academy (DSA) senior Jonas Landwehr recently won high national honors in the 2017 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 first meet, Landwehr made only a single mistake and was one of the 121 highest-scoring 12th graders in the entire country.
More than 65,000 high school students from 48 states entered the meet.
The WordWright Challenge pushes students to extend their reading comprehension, vocabulary, and reading analysis levels, said DSA English Chair Ryan Kirchoff, who oversaw High School DSA’s participation in the program. “The challenging questions that accompany the text require students to apply the same type of skills they will need in a college classroom.”
The premise behind the WordWright Challenge 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 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.
Much like the questions on the verbal SAT I, the SAT II in English Literature, and the Advanced Placement exams in both English Language and English Literature, 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.
Located in Doral, Divine Savior Academy provides PreK-3 to 12th grade students with college prep academics in a Christian environment. To schedule a private tour of the school, visit www.divinesavioracademy.com.