by Doug Wood
Student teams representing 14 elementary schools and six middle schools gathered at Drew Charter School, on Ja. 26 to compete in the 2013 Helen Ruffin Reading Bowl for the Atlanta Public Schools district. The elementary school teams were composed of 4th and 5th graders.
In Georgia, the Helen Ruffin Reading Bowl used the original 20 titles on the Georgia Book Awards Nominees list and the 20 titles on the Georgia Peach Teen Book Award Nominees list.
Sixteen titles were selected for the elementary students and all twenty books were selected for middle school students. Teams from various schools competed in a game show format, answering questions from those selected books. There are three rounds: district, region, and state.
This year the elementary school books included Charlie Joe Jackson’s Guide to Not Reading, Close to Famous, Crunch, Dark Life, Fish, Hero, Ninth Ward, My life in Pink and Green, Milo, Sticky Notes and Brain Freeze, The Great Wall of Lucy Wu, The Limit, The Luck of the Buttons, The Secret Science Alliance and the Copycat Crook, Turtle in Paradise and Wild Things.
For middle schoolers, the books The Grimm Legacy, Kick, The Rock and the River and Words in the Dust were added.
The schools competed in six rounds of questioning, with the two highest scoring teams in each grade level moving on to the regional competition being held this upcoming weekend and with third place being recognized.
"I am excited the program continues to grow. In 2006 there were only 2 teams and this year there were 22 teams," said Dr. Warren Goetzel, APS' media coordinator. "Each year the competition becomes more competitive and only one or two questions separate the teams."
This year in the elementary schools, Brandon and Garden Hills are moving on to the regional competition. There was a three-way-tie for third place: D.H. Stanton of Peoplestown, Fred Armon Toomer of Kirkwood and Beecher Hills elementary schools. The other elementary school participants included Drew Charter of East Lake, Parkside of Grant Park, Thomasville of Thomasville Heights, Whitefoord of Edgewood, Centennial Place, Continental Colony, Dunbar, Kimberly and East Rivers.
For the middle schools moving on to the next round is Sutton Middle School and Ormewood Park's Atlanta Neighborhood Charter and in third place Drew Charter School. The other middle schools competing were Sammye Coan of East Lake, Martin Luther King of Grant Park and Harper Archer.
For the high school level, only two schools competed, and they are both moving on to the next round, North Atlanta High School and Douglass High School.
The next round of the competition will be Saturday, Feb. 2 at Clayton State College.
Mr. Wood, a Kirkwood resident, is a Toomer Elementary School parent.