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Poetry Out Loud National Contest

Sign up now for Poetry Out Loud, a national contest that encourages the nation’s youth to learn about great poetry through memorization and recitation. You’ll find complete information, registration forms and a great new Youtube video (2 min.) on the Nebraska Arts Council website. All Nebraska high schools (grades 9-12) are invited to participate free of charge; registrations are due by November 1. This program helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about their literary heritage.
Poetry Out Loud uses a pyramid structure that starts at the classroom level. Winners advance to a school-wide competition, then to regional and state competitions, and ultimately to the National Finals. Each winner at the state level receives $200 and an all-expenses-paid trip with an adult chaperone to Washington to compete for the national championship. The state winner’s school receives a $500 stipend for the purchase of poetry books. The first runner-up in each state receives $100, with $200 for his or her school library. A total of $50,000 in awards and school stipends is awarded annually at the National Finals.
Poetry Out Loud satisfies more than half of the NCTE English Language Arts Standards. The Teachers’ Guide includes all elements the teacher needs to implement the program, from tools to help students memorize and perform great poems, to optional lesson plans to give students the opportunity to discuss poems and to write poetry of their own.  The schedule and curriculum for Poetry Out Loud have been designed to fit into a teacher’s busy schedule without much disruption. The program takes place in the classroom over about two to three weeks, according to each teacher’s interest and schedule, and will not require full class periods during that time. Also, the Nebraska Arts Council can arrange for an actor or poet who specializes in poetry recitation to lead workshops in your school free of charge.


Updated February 1, 2023 9:56pm