Helen Ruffin Reading Bowl

Read... Compete... Achieve...

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Meet the 2017 Reading Bowl Team! They were super readers and competitors!

Can I Join Hill City's Team?

You bet! If you are in fourth or fifth grade and LOVE to read, then Reading Bowl is perfect for you! Stop by the media center and let Mrs. Hardison know you are interested.

We actively recruit for the team each Spring. Rising fourth and fifth graders are given an opportunity to take home an informational flyer and application. This recruitment process takes place again in August to ensure we reach all interested participants.

Just like any other team, the Reading Bowl Team practices once a week after school. The team picks the practice day that works best for all.

In late January, Hill City team members compete against the other 3 county elementary schools. The top 2 teams then move on to compete in the North Region competition. (For example, Monday, January 23, 2017 is this year's local competition and Saturday, February 4, 2017 is the regional in Gainesville.)

Who Was Helen Ruffin?

Helen Ruffin created this unique reading competition to encourage students to read while she was a media specialist at Sky Haven Elementary School in DeKalb County, Georgia. Mrs. Ruffin retired from DeKalb County in 1992, however the competition she created still lives on. The Helen Ruffin Reading Bowl became a statewide competition in 2003.

"I Can't Read All of Those Books!"

Yes, you can! Or, you may not have too. Reading Bowl teams take different approaches to tackling the required reading. Some enthusiastic students do read all the books on their assigned list. However, other schools take a team approach. For example out of the 18 books on the elementary list, students are asked to choose 5 titles and become “experts” on their selected books. As long as all 20 books are covered, the team will have an “expert” or two present during each round of the competition.

Team members will be required to take and pass AR tests on the novels. Also, they will keep a team notebook in which they jot down important facts (e.g. author's name, characters, setting) and at least 10 practice questions.

Elementary List: 2017-2018

The Helen Ruffin Reading Bowl uses 20 titles from the Georgia Book Awards (2017-2018) for the elementary competition. A list of titles can be found at http://www.dekalbschoolsga.org/helen-ruffin-reading-bowl/booklists/

Benefits of Participating in the Helen Ruffin Reading Bowl

Parents and Teachers: Encouraging your children and students to participate could result in these benefits:

1. Promote independent and recreational reading

2. Increase standardized test scores

3. Increase reading comprehension

4. Develop an appreciation for literature

5. Improve academic achievement

6. Enhance verbal communication skills

7. Promote cooperation

8. Build self-esteem

9. Develop team spirit

One side benefit that has been noted by media specialists and Helen Ruffin Reading Bowl (HRRB) team coaches is the positive impact it has on boys and their reading. Boys are naturally drawn to the competitive nature of the reading bowl. That "gotta be first to buzz-in" mentality is almost hard-wired in boys. Some have even noted a personal growth in addition to the reading growth in males participating. Boys who has previously been rather introverted, have grown their social skills and friendship bonds, even female friendships, after competing on HRRB team.


Buddy, J. W. (2011). Connecting males and reading. School Library Monthly, Volume 28, Issue , 11-13. Retrieved from http://www.galileo.usg.edu/schZ9olar/westga/search/.

DeKalb County School System: Helen Ruffin Reading Bowl. (n.d.) Retrieved June 19, 2015, from http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/www/helen-ruffin-reading-bowl/.

Georgia Helen Ruffin Reading Bowl Weebly. (n.d.) Retrieved June 19, 2015, from http://georgiahelenruffinreadingbowl.weebly.com/

Helen Ruffin photo. (n.d.). [JPEG]. Retrieved June 20, 2015, from http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/www/helen-ruffin-reading-bowl/wp-content/uploads/sites/35/2015/03/helen.jpg

Youse, C. (2013). Book hawgs on parade: starting a book cart drill team. Library Media Connection, Volume 31, Issue 6, 48-49. Retrieved from http://www.galileo.usg.edu/schZ9olar/westga/search/