The Helen Ruffin Reading Bowl is long standing, highly competitive state wide reading competition in the state of Georgia for students in grades 4-12 that began its statewide competition in 2000. Atlanta Public Schools has been a strong supporter of the program with rich competition district wide since it began.
In 2013, Mr. Roy Jackson became SPARK’s library media specialist. Prior to his tenure at SPARK the school did not have a team. Known for his innovative and creative events, he brought the reading bowl to the school. The first year only a handful of students tried out. The team had a strong fifth place showing among forty elementary schools. The highest a first year team had ever placed in the APS reading bowl. Seeing the success of the team, more students tried out over the years.
Mr. Jackson has grown the program from a handful of students to over 30 fourth and fifth graders trying out for ten slots on the team. Since the first year, SPARK has risen to the top of the district with first place finishes in 2016 and 2017. In 2016 and 2017 the team advanced 3 rounds with a second place finish in the metro region and a showing at the state divisionals, the highest any Atlanta Public School has ever placed.
Students on the reading bowl team at SPARK are strongly committed to the team. Students devote their lunches and recess to practice, along with an 18 book reading list to read and study at home. Their hard work has paid off. In addition to the competition the team also participates in evenings of cultural enlightenment in the spring by attending plays and other city cultural events. The team has gotten to tour and have a Q&A with the cast of Tuck Everlasting and in 2017 the team was able to attend and meet skaters at the Atlanta Roller Derby after reading the book RollerGirl.
Seeing the excitement in the students, Mr. Jackson continued his creativity to include a school wide reading bowl called March Madness in the Media Center. Captained by the reading bowl team members, over 60 students compete in a month long reading competition.
Books are chosen from the Georgia Children’s Book Awards finalist list. Mr. Jackson also serves as the chair of the grades 4-5 Georgia Children’s Book Award Committee.
Try outs for the team take place in September and competitions start in January. Additional information will be shared during those times. For more information please contact Mr. Jackson.