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Students compete in county reading bowl
0209 Reading bowl LFMS
Front row: Alexis Wilson, Leilani Morris, Angelique Hutton and Ajira Haynes; back row: Travon Walker, Nathaniel Karr, Jordan Hughes, Alex Oneal, Jeace Santiago and Joshua Atkins pose with Lewis Frasier Middle Schools annual Helen Ruffin Reading Bowl trophy. - photo by Photo provided.

Elementary, middle and high school students across Liberty County have been working all year reading, reviewing and practicing for the fifth annual Helen Ruffin Reading Bowl. The reading bowl offers an opportunity for students to put their reading skills to the test, school system officials say.
Each year, elementary and middle school students interested in participating in the competition read books on their level from the Georgia Children’s Book Award nominee list for the current school year. Students in fourth and fifth grades qualify for participation in the bowl. This year, elementary students read from a list of 17 books. The middle school reading list contained 20 books. In addition to reading books from the required lists, students worked in teams to create practice questions to review their books and prepare for the bowl by scrimmaging with a hand-held buzzer. 
High school students also prepared for the bowl by reading, creating questions and scrimmaging. Their reading list, however, was taken from the Georgia Peach Book Awards for Teen Readers. This year’s list contained 20 books.
The middle and high school teams participated in the Liberty County Helen Ruffin Reading Bowl on Jan. 20 at the Liberty County Performing Arts Center. All of the local middle and high schools were represented by student teams. Several principals and parents attended to root for their schools. Teams competed through six rounds of questions taken from the required reading list for a total of 60 questions.
Lewis Frasier took first place at the middle-school level. The LFMS team was coached by media specialist Dr. Sandy Jennings.  Midway Middle School’s team took second place and was coached by Cristina Dover.
Liberty County High School earned first place in the county reading bowl. The LCHS team was coached by Kay Williams, a high school media specialist. Amy Rhodes and MaryAnn Scanlon served as the assistant coaches for the LCHS team. Bradwell Institute’s reading bowl team took second place and was coached by media specialist Nicole Lukkarinen. Deborah Starkey served as an assistant coach for the BI team.
The elementary Helen Ruffin Reading Bowl was Jan. 21 at the Liberty County Performing Arts Center. All of the Liberty County elementary schools were represented by teams. First Presbyterian Christian Academy participated in the bowl for the first time. Several principals attended to support their schools’ teams. Parent attendance also was high, event coordinators said.
The elementary teams participated in eight rounds of questions from their required reading list, for a total of 80 questions. Joseph Martin Elementary School took first place in the reading bowl. Elaine Walker, the school media specialist, was the lead coach. She was assisted by Rebecca Smith. Waldo Pafford Elementary School’s team placed second in the reading bowl. Roxanne Lee, the school media specialist, coached WPE.
The first- and second-place teams from the elementary, middle and high schools advanced to the Southern Regional Helen Ruffin Reading bowl, which was held Feb. 5 at Valdosta State University. Winning teams from the regional bowl will advance to a divisional bowl and from there to the Georgia Helen Ruffin Reading Bowl in Athens. Both Joseph Martin Elementary and Liberty County High School previously have attended the state-level competition.
The academic reading competition is made possible through help from school media specialists, classroom teachers, instructional technology staff members and retired educators.

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