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Poetry Out Loud \n the Classroom 

Competition Structure and Prizes 

Participating teachers will receive everything 
they need to run a successful competition 
including a teacher's guide, copies of the 
Poetry Out Loud anthology, an audio guide 
to poetry recitation, and posters for the 
classroom. Additional resources available on 
the Poetiy Out Loud website include video 
examples of excellent recitations, a guide for 
judges, a searchable anthology of more than 
600 poems, downloadable scoresheets and a 
tallying system, and much more. 

The curriculum kr Poetry Out Loudhas been 
designed to fit into a teacher's busy schedule. 
The program usually takes place over the 
span of two to three weeks, according to 
each teacher's interest and agenda, and it 
will not require fiiU class periods during 

that time. Teachers may also work Poetry 
Out Loud into existing poetry units. To 
accommodate schools' testing demands 
and vacation calendars, Poetry Out Loud 
can be implemented at the school level any 
time during the fall through early winter, 
with slight variations by state. Please check 
with your State Coordinator for your state's 
specific calendar. 

Poetry Out Loud satisfies most of the NCTE 
English Language Arts Standards. In 
addition to memorizing and performing great 
poems, students will have the opportunity to 
discuss poetry and — if the teacher wishes to 
use the supplemental lesson plans — to write 
poetry of their own. 

Poems are the most 
beautiful and useful 

language By 

learning poems you 
really are keeping the 
very best of English 
expression and you 
have it to pull out 
when you need it. 

—U.S. Poet Laureate Kay Ryan on 
the Poetry Out Loud audio guide. 

Poetry Out Loud starts in the classroom, 
with participating teachers using the Poetry 
Out Loud toolkit to teach poetry recitation 
and run classroom competitions. Following 
a pyramid structure, classroom winners 
advance to a school-wide competition, then 
to a regional and/or state competition, and 
ultimately to the National Finals. State 
competitions will take place by mid-March; 
the 2009 National Finals will follow on 
April 26-28. 

The following prizes are offered for the 
official state and national competitions: 

State Finals prizes 

Winner: $200, plus $500 to school library 
for purchase of poetry books, and all- 
expenses-paid trip (with an adult chaperone) 
to Washington, DC, to compete at the 
National Finals. 

Runner-up: $100, plus $200 to school 
library for purchase of poetry books 

National Finals prizes 

National Champion: $20,000 
Second Place: $10,000 
Third Place: $5,000 
Fourth-Twelfth Place: $1,000 
Schools of top twelve: $500 

Jackson was a senior at Columbus Alternative 
High School in Columbus, Ohio, when he was 
named the first National Champion oi Poetry Out 
Loud. He is now at Otterbein College. 


"A Satirical Elegy on the Death of a Late Famous General" 

by Jonathan Swift 
"Altruism" by Molly Peacock 
"Forgetfulness" by Billy Collins 

"Before the competition, poetry was strictly for 
bedtime stories for kids. I had never taken a 
poem seriously outside of a literature class 
before. It's something that I've come to love, 
and I'll incorporate it into whatever I do. " 

Amanda was a senior at Duke Ellington School 
for the Arts in Washington, DC, when she won 
Poetry Out Loud. She is currendy attending NYU's 
Tisch School of the Arts. 


"Dulce et Decorum Est" by Wilfred Owen 

"Ma Rainey" by Sterling A. Brown 

"Unknown Girl in a Maternity Ward" by Anne Sexton 

"Every day I write poetry. In order to develop 
my writing and myself I have to read it and 
read about it." 

2008 National Champion 
SHavvniay ntNKY 

U.S. Virgin Islands 

The youngest Poetry Out LovA National 
Champion, Shawntay won the 2008 National 
Finals as a sophomore. She attends Charlotte 
Amalie High School in the U.S. Virgin Islands. 


"Beauty" by Tony Hoagland 
"January, 1795" by Mary Robinson 
"Frederick Douglass" by Robert E. Hayden 

"When you really listen to the words and recite 
[poetry] on stage, it comes alive and you 
can feel that, and you have to make sure the 
audience feels that too." 

Poetry Out Loud encourages the nation's youth to learn 
about great poetry through exploration, memorization, and 

performance. The inspiration for this program is to promote poetry in both 
the classroom and the community. Poetry Out Loud provides an entry point for 
many students to learn to love poetry and keep their favorite poems for a lifetime. 

Participating Students 


2005 2006 

(Pilot Year) 

2007 2008 

The National Endowment for the Arts and 
the Poetry Foundation joined together to 
create Poetry Out Loud in 2004 and now, ii 
partnership with state arts agencies, dynamic 
poetry recitation competitions are taking fl 
place in classrooms across the country. ^ 
Poetry Out Loud gives teachers the tools tol| 
introduce their students to a broad spectrum | 
of poetry, so students may discover their jf 
literary heritage. j 

Poetry Out Loud has grown from a pilot project in Washington, DC, and Chicago 
to involve more than 200,000 students nationwide during the 2007-08 school 
year. Champions from 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin 
Islands competed at the 2008 National Finals in Washington, DC. Prizes totaling 
more than $100,000 are awarded at the state and national competitions each year. 

How To Be Part of Poetry Outioud 

To participate the official state and national competitions, schools must register with their 
State Coordinator. Visit "State Contacts" on the Poetry Out Loud website to identify your 
State Coordinator. 

"This was easily one of the greatest experiences of 
my teaching career. Overall, we had approximately 
850 (out of 1,000) students memorize a poem, from 
all levels, grades, and abilities. Our school semifinals 
included several ESL students, athletes, actors, honor- 
roll students, and students who struggle with their 
English grades. In the week leading up to the first 
round of the competition, students were reciting their 
poems in the halls, in science classes, at their after- 
school jobs, and to their parents at home. It was the 
level of intellectual confidence and enthusiasm that 
we as teachers usually only fantasize about.'' 

—Poetry Out Loud Teacher 


A great nation 
deserves great art. 



Poetry Out Loud is a partnership of the National Endowment for the Arts, 
the Poetry Foundation, and the state arts agencies of the United States.