Shallowford Falls Elementary students recently captured first place at the Helen Ruffin Reading Bowl in Athens, Georgia.
As part of the competition, the students read 18 Georgia Children’s Book Award nominees and memorized details of the books. They answered questions in a bowl-type setting, buzzing in when they knew the answers. They competed as the Northern Division Champions against the Southern Division Champions, Gum Springs Elementary. Shallowford Falls’s journey to the state competition led them through the county competition where the students advanced to the regional bowl at the University of West Georgia. Next, they competed in the Divisional Bowl in Dekalb County, which earned them a spot at the state competition in Athens.
Shallowford Falls started competing in the annual reading bowl 11 years ago, but this is the first time a Shallowford Falls team has reached the state competition. It is only the second time a Cobb County elementary school has won.
Helen Ruffin, a library media specialist at Sky Haven Elementary School in DeKalb County, created the Reading Bowl in 1986. Her vision was to have teams, comprised of students from different schools, compete to test their knowledge of the selected books.
In 2000, after Ruffin’s retirement, several library media specialists formed the DeKalb County Helen Ruffin Reading Bowl. Other school districts in Georgia heard about this unique reading initiative, and soon the Georgia Helen Ruffin Reading Bowl opened to students in fourth grade through 12th grade.
During the last few years, more than 600 schools throughout Georgia have held competitions at the local school district level and have registered online for regional competitions.