Atlanta Public Schools participates in 8th annual Helen Ruffin Reading Bowl

Sutton Middle students at Helen Ruffin Reading Bowl 2014

Buzzers sounded quickly as 290 elementary and middle students from 29 Atlanta Public Schools competed in the Helen Ruffin Reading Bowl at Drew Charter School. At the elementary school level, Morris Brandon Elementary won first place and Garden Hills Elementary won second. At the middle school level, Sutton Middle School won first place with Atlanta Neighborhood Charter close behind in second place. Carver High School and Douglass High School will represent APS at the high school level.

At the Metro Atlanta Regional Helen Ruffin Reading Bowl, Brandon Elementary School won second place and will proceed to the Divisional Helen Ruffin Reading Bowl on February 22, 2014. This is the first time an APS team has proceeded to the divisional level.  Garden Hills Elementary School placed third at the Metro Atlanta Regional Helen Ruffin Reading Bowl.

“Our second and third place victories clearly demonstrate the power of our Helen Ruffin Reading Bowl teams in APS,” said Warren Goetzel, media services coordinator for APS.

This year, the number of APS elementary schools competing increased by 50 percent.

“I’m very excited about the increased participation,” said Warren Goetzel, media services coordinator for APS. “When I started the reading bowl in 2007, we had two teams participate.”

Deerwood Academy students at Helen Ruffin Reading Bowl 2014

The Helen Ruffin Reading Bowl is a statewide competition with a game format that tests students’ knowledge of selected books in grades four through twelve.  Helen Ruffin, a former media specialist in DeKalb County, started the reading bowl several years ago to encourage students to read.

Screen Shot 2014-02-04 at 9.03.42 AMTeam members and coaches spent hours reading and practicing in preparation for this event. Students were required to read books that were Georgia Children’s Book Award nominees at the elementary school level, and Georgia Peach Book Award nominees at the high school level. Hundreds of parents, teachers and community members supported students as they competed in a total of six competition rounds. Cumulative points for all rounds determined the winners at each school level.

“We had a great time, and as a first year team, we are very happy with our score,” said Carla Humphreys, third grade teacher at Humphries Elementary School. “Next year will be even better!”

Drew Charter's Helen Ruffin Reading Bowl team
Drew Charter students at Helen Ruffin Reading Bowl 2014

APS students represented teams from the following schools: Beecher Hills, Benteen, Bethune, Bolton Academy, Burgess-Peterson, Centennial Place, Continental Colony, Deerwood, Drew Charter (elementary and middle), E. Rivers, Fickett, Garden Hills, Humphries, Kimberly, Mary Lin, Morris Brandon, Parkside, Springdale Park, Thomasville Heights, Warren T. Jackson, Wesley International Academy (elementary and middle), Atlanta Neighborhood Charter, Harper-Archer, Coretta Scott King YWLA, Jean Childs Young, Martin Luther King Jr., and Sutton.

Click here to view a photo slideshow!

For more information on the Helen Ruffin Reading Bowl, please visit

– written by Tomiko Cobb-Jean, Media Specialist at Dunbar Elementary, and Warren Goetzel, APS media services coordinator

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