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APS Picture Book Bowl builds love for reading

by Thomas Scott

The Atlanta Public Schools second annual Picture Book Bowl brought together students from kindergarten through third grade who were excited to showcase their reading skills.

Twenty-two APS schools participated in the virtual team competition over Zoom. Back in March, the Georgia Book Award Committee outlined 20 award-winning picture books for participants to read before the competition.

“This is a competition that celebrates the joy of reading and the love of reading that’s being developed in our youngest readers,” APS director of library media services Jennifer Saunders said. “The students are able to shine. They are able to show that they are readers, that they enjoy reading and are reading for the love of reading.”

Each participating school had a team of 10 students that went head-to-head against another school using an app called Buzz In Live.

The students were excited to answer the questions about the books they read and earn points for their team. They cheered when they got a question right and encouraged their classmates if they got a question wrong.

“The volunteers really liked the excitement from the students,” Saunders said. “They were also impressed by how the students encouraged each other. They said, ‘Way to go! You can do this! Keep going!’ So students were also learning sportsmanship, how to lose, how to win, and how to celebrate each other and encourage each other.”

“The volunteers were very impressed with the confidence that was displayed in the students,” she added. “This was a confidence-building activity as well as risk-taking. We think of the IB characteristics, and being a risk-taker is one of those. This gives students the opportunity to do something they may not otherwise have done before.”

By the end of the competition, it was Usher-Collier Elementary School that finished with a game-high 430 points to win the APS Picture Bowl. M. Agnes Jones Elementary School was a close second place with 420 points, and both Kimberly Elementary and Harper Archer Elementary School tied for third place with 330 points.

“This appeals to students who thrive in competition, and it motivates them and encourages them to want to do more and do better and to hone their reading skills,” Saunders said. “Oftentimes, our readers can be the more quiet students, and they don’t always get recognized. But this is an opportunity for them to really stand out and be among peers that have similar interests.”

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