Helen Ruffin was a media specialist in DeKalb County, Georgia. In 1985, she served on the selection committee for the Georgia Children's Book Award nominee program. This literature program began in the Department of Language Education at the University of Georgia's College of Education.
Helen was inspired to use the nominated books to encourage her students to read. She created a unique reading competition in a game format, using those books. She called it the Reading Bowl. Her vision was to have teams comprised of students from different schools compete to test their knowledge of the selected books. She shared this vision with her colleagues, who embraced her idea.
Today, the Georgia Helen Ruffin Reading Bowl is open to students in grades four through twelve across the state. It is a state-wide reading initiative to increase student achievement and reading comprehension, help students develop a deeper appreciation for literature, enhance verbal communication skills, promote cooperation, build self-esteem, and develop team spirit. Students in grades six through eight who compete at the middle school level read all 20 books on the Georgia Book Awards Nominees List. Elementary students in grades four and five read 17 of the 20 books on the Georgia Book Awards Nominees list.
During competition students are tested on their knowledge of the books in a quiz bowl format. Winning teams advance to the next level of competition. Levels of competition include district, regional, division, and state competition. District competition takes place in late January.
All State rules and information can be found on the DeKalb County HRRB site which hosts the state information.
For further information, contact the school HRRB sponsor.