Librarian Ellen Cole proudly announces the winners of the 2016-17 Levine Library Reading Contest. In five months, contestants read and reported on hundreds of books, many for bonus points, in the Ellis Island Read. This year’s competition connected to the hot topic of immigration and our Jewish history as proud immigrants, now proud Jewish-Americans. Ellen presented the 14 finalists who received their prizes at the Library Awards Assemblies on Sunday, April 2.
The Grades 1 to 3 Division reads picture books and chapter books. Returning winner, Annie Loeb, grade two, storms first place again, beating her last year’s record with a 71 point finish. In a tight race, first grader, new reader, Zoe Friedman, graces second place with 59 points while first grader, new reader, Saffron Bilgihan nails third place with 57 points. Audrey Posner’s 32 points secure fourth place for this returning winner in second grade. Fifth place goes to returning winner, third grader, Desmond Bilgihan who amassed 26 points. Sixth place belongs to newcomer, second grader Samantha Weiss for her 21 points. Three fine readers achieve honorable mention: Madison Nejad, returning winner, grade two, 20 points; Ben Kirschbaum, returning winner, grade three, 17 points; and Shana Morrison, new reader, grade one, 10 points.
The Grades 4 to 6 Division reads chapter books. Many winners return from past victories in this division. Leaping ahead of her own finish from last year, Violet Bilgihan, grade five, is victor here by a landslide: she sweeps first place with a grand total of 70 points. Returning winner, Alexis Weiss, fifth grader, celebrates second place with 34 points. In another tight race, returning winner, fifth grader, Ava Friedman holds third place with 28 points as returning winner, fifth grader, Sydnie Loeb gains fourth place with 27 points. New reader, sixth grader, Josh Epstein’s 25 points wins fifth place.
At the April 2 assemblies, clergy, principal, teachers, fellow students, and parents applauded the winners. These 14 victorious readers received books about the Jewish immigration experience inscribed with their winning rank. Readers above the rank of honorable mention receive contest theme prizes including, musical dolls, keepsake boxes, mezuzahs, jewelry, and tzedakah boxes.
The reading contest is a voluntary library program open to Religious School students starting during Jewish Book Month in the fall. Children read Jewish books at their grade level and discuss each book with the Librarian. In addition to open reading, this year students receive bonus points for books about our Ellis Island immigration experience. Five points entitles readers to a yogurt treat at the Bigg Chill; ten points or more qualifies contestants for prizes.
Ellen thanks Rochelle Neuburger in the Temple gift shop for her helpful advice selecting prizes. She thanks the kind donors to the Hurewitz and Levine Library Funds whose support finances this popular program which promotes Jewish literacy. Ellen congratulates the winners of the Ellis Island Reading Contest. She encourages them to defend their titles next year. She invites all students to compete in the new contest for new prizes.