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English Language Arts


Bedtime and Books

In an annual tradition, West School students and parents donned their pajamas, grabbed their favorite stuffed animals and headed back to school for an evening of shared reading fun and learning at the K-2 Bedtime and Books celebration.

While students snuggled into cozy reading circles with their parents, teachers read stories to the group, all the while demonstrating the reading strategies that parents can use at home to make shared reading time fun while promoting literacy skills. Parents also received handouts full of reading strategies geared to each grade level. Among the tips, parents were encouraged to help kindergartners by using picture clues and echo reading, ask first graders to make connections and predictions, and help second graders develop questions and visualize what is happening as they read.

This year, the school combined literacy with community service by asking each family to bring in a book to donate to Ronald McDonald House Charities.

“Bedtime and Books has become a very popular West School family tradition,” said Principal Sandra Schneider. “It’s a fun evening of family reading that also gives us a great opportunity to connect with parents, to give them some creative tools they can use to help their children practice these important reading strategies at home.”


More Honors for Fragments

Once again, Long Beach High School’s literary magazine, Fragments, earned top honors in competitions sponsored by the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) and the Empire State Scholastic Press Association (ESSPA).

In the NCTE Program to Recognize Excellence in Literary Magazines, the Fragments staff received the “Superior” designation for Highest Award ranking. Fragments was among only eight New York high school literary magazines to receive this ranking. Of the 391 entries nationwide, only 96 qualified for this designation.

At the state level, Fragments was honored with the Gold All-New York Award at the ESSPA annual competition. Students also earned a total of 32 individual awards including eight gold, ten silver, seven bronze and seven honorable mentions. Long Beach students dominated in the poetry category, racking up 11 out of 16 total awards. They made an equally strong showing in specialized content, winning six of the eight awards in that category.

Individual gold awards went to: Sophie Corwin for artwork/illustration; Emily Charleson, Eileen Kelly, Jane Smyth and Roxette Romanes for layout; Sophie Corwin (two awards) and Jane Smyth for poetry; Alana Costello for non-fiction; and Giovanna Raffa and Emily Charleson for specialized content.

Individual silver awards were earned by: Kirsten Donovan for artwork/illustration; Sophie Corwin and Alexis Romano for fiction; Hillary Vinokur for photography; Grace Smith (two awards) and Benjamin Weiss for poetry; and Kirsten Donovan (two awards) and Blaine Garde for specialized content.

Six students earned individual bronze awards: Blaine Garde for artwork/illustration; Joseph Sweeny for fiction; Scott Blumenfeld and Emily Charleson for photography; Jane Smyth and Sophie Corwin for poetry; and Emily Charleson for specialized content.

Honorable mention was given to: Marlena Howard and Eileen Kelly for artwork/illustration; Eileen Kelly, Emily Charleson and Jane Smyth for cover design; Kirsten Donovan for photography; and Sarah Ben-Moussa, Eileen Kelly and Grace Smith for poetry.

Over the years, Fragments writers, editors and artists have consistently won top awards at national and state competitions for their work. Students edit and write for Fragments as part of the high school’s Talented Writers program, taught by Rachell Koegel. Submissions are also accepted from students in a number of other writing and art classes offered at the high school.


District Spelling Bee Champ

Middle School eighth grader Jonathan Kapilian survived 19 grueling rounds of competition to be crowned the winner in the Long Beach Public Schools District Spelling Bee. The field of 41 students was whittled down to five competitors in round seven, with middle school students Emily Burns, Jonathan Kapilian, Irving Oliva, Kelly DiResto and Jessica Rollins battling it out for another five rounds, until Jonathan and Jessica were the last two standing. They went head-to-head for an additional seven rounds, until Jonathan pulled off a victory in the 19th round, correctly spelling the word “amethyst” to earn the title of District Spelling Bee Champion.

“The Spelling Bee was instituted to help students improve their spelling, increase vocabulary, and develop correct English usage that will help them all their lives,” said Director of English Language Arts Joshua Anisansel.