Best Readers, Fastest Buzzers Reign At Helen Ruffin Reading Bowl

Students from 39 Cobb schools competed to be recognized as the best readers and fastest buzzers at the seventh annual Cobb County Helen Ruffin Reading Bowl Jan. 19. The winners of this year’s competition are: Walton High School in first place and Hillgrove High School in second; for the middle school level, Campbell Middle School took first and McCleskey Middle School took second place; at the elementary level, Birney won first place with Hayes Elementary in second place. These teams advance to the West Regional competition Saturday, Feb. 2 at the University of West Georgia.

Cobb County has had a tradition of producing winners. Last year, Campbell Middle School also won the State competition. In previous years, Austell Elementary went to Divisionals, Lovvingood Middle and McEachern High Schools have won the state competition.

The Bowl was started by Helen Ruffin, a now retired DeKalb County media specialist. In an effort to motivate the students at her school to read more, she decided to capitalize on their competitive natures. Thus, the idea for an academic competition was formed. High school students read the nominated books for the Georgia Teen Peach Book Award. Middle and elementary students read the nominated books for the Georgia Book Awards. In six rounds of competition teams compete against each other. Factual questions about the books are asked. To respond to a question, competitors use a game show style buzzer system. The first student to buzz, responds. If he/she answers the question correctly their team earns 10 points. Thus, speed and accuracy is the name of the game! Winning teams are those that earn the most cumulative points. Due to the round robin nature of the competition, it is impossible to know who will win until the closing ceremony. The Cobb County Helen Ruffin Reading Bowl is organized by a volunteer committee of Cobb County Media Specialists.

Submitted by Barbara Powell-Schager, Library Media Specialist, Big Shanty Elementary