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Clayton students to compete in 'Reading Bowl'

By Curt Yeomans

cyeomans@news-daily.com

As many as 60 students -- on teams representing county schools --will be competing to see who knows the most about books, this Saturday, when the public school system hosts the Second Annual Clayton County Reading Bowl.

The competition will test students' comprehension of 40 books nominated for 2009-2010 Georgia Children's Book Awards. The awards are given out by the University of Georgia's Department of Language and Literacy Education, according to Clayton County Public Schools Coordinator of Media Services Leslie Pratschler.

The reading bowl will last from 10 a.m., to 11 a.m., at M.D. Roberts Middle School, which is located at 1905 Walt Stephens Road, in Jonesboro.

"This is just a neat opportunity to get our students interested in reading," Pratschler said.

The winners of the elementary and middle school categories will advance to the regional Reading Bowl, which will be held at Clayton State University in Morrow on Feb. 6, according to Pratschler.

She said six Clayton County schools will be competing for the right to advance to the regional tournament, including: James A. Jackson Elementary School; Thurgood Marshall Elementary School; Swint Elementary School; Babb Middle School; M.D. Roberts Middle School, and Sequoyah Middle School.

Pratschler said one county high school, Charles R. Drew, will automatically advance to the regional Reading Bowl, since it was the only high school to sign up for the county competition. Students from that school will assist school system officials at the county Reading Bowl, as volunteers, the district's media services coordinator said.

Each competing team is allowed to have five to 10 members, but only five members can compete in a round, Pratschler said. "If each team brings 10 students, we could be looking at close to 60 students participating ...," she said.

The event will begin with a parade of teams, in which each team will march into the opening ceremonies behind its school's banner, much like the way athletes enter the opening ceremonies of the winter and summer Olympics.

In each round of competition, teams will answer a series of 10 questions about the content of the Georgia Children's Book Award nominees.

Babb Middle School Media Specialist Dirim McCall said this will be her school's first year participating in the Reading Bowl. She said she will take a team of 10 students to the competition, and they were preparing for the event on Wednesday, by holding a mock Reading Bowl.

The students were allowed to sign up to be on the team, provided they had a teacher recommendation, McCall said. "We wanted them to experience the opportunity to compete in an event like this," she said. "They are really getting excited about this."