Poetry Out Loud

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What is Poetry Out Loud?

During the 2014-2015 academic year, Poetry Out Loud National Recitation Contest celebrates its 10 year anniversary of bringing an appreciation of poetry to high school students and schools throughout the United States. Using the Poetry Out Loud curriculum, teachers guide students toward a deeper understanding of the power of language and literature. Students develop a personal relationship with great poems while learning about their literary heritage through poetry recitation. Plus, participants master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and improve their reading comprehension scores.

How it Works

The Florida Division of Cultural Affairs works with the National Endowment of the Arts and the Poetry Foundation to distribute poetry study materials to participating high school teachers. Using the Poetry Out Loud Teacher’s Guide, teachers incorporate poetry into their classroom curriculum while also  preparing for school-wide poetry recitation competitions. Each school's winner then comes to Florida's capital with a chaperone to participate in the Poetry Out Loud State Finals contest. This year's contest will be on February 28, 2015  in the Heritage Hall Auditorium at the R.A. Gray Building, 500 South Bronough Street, Tallahassee, FL.

The winner of the Poetry Out Loud State Finals for Florida will be awarded $200 and given an all-expense paid trip (with an adult chaperone) to Washington, DC to compete in the Poetry Out Loud National Finals. The State Champion’s school library receives a $500 stipend for the purchase of poetry materials. The runner-up receives $100; an additional $200 goes to his or her school library. More than $50,000 in prizes and school stipends is awarded annually at the National Finals (April 27 – 29, 2015) with the national winner receiving $20,000 in college scholarship funds and national media recognition.

How to Participate

Interested teachers may review the Poetry Out Loud classroom materials, poems, instructions and other resources at poetryoutloud.org. While teachers, students, and poetry lovers everywhere can use the Poetry Out Loud website to organize their own contests, the sanctioned contest is limited to the programs run by each states’ arts agency. Schools that would like to participate in Florida’s official Poetry Out Loud program, receive the Poetry Out Loud toolkit, and send a student to Florida’s Poetry Out Loud State Finals should register their school below. Within two weeks of registering, schools will receive the Poetry Out Loud toolkit which includes a Teacher’s Guide, lessons plans, promotional posters and a “Learning Recitation” Companion Guide and DVD.

Register your School for the State Finals

In order to participate in the State Finals, it is advised that all school-wide contests be completed by February 1. Once each school has determined the approximate date of their school-wide competition, they must register to participate in the authorized program. Poetry Out Loud School Coordinators (lead teachers) should register their school here by December 30.

Register Student Winners for the State Finals

Once the school-wide competition has been held and school winners have been determined, eligible students selected to participate in Florida's Poetry Out Loud State Finals should be registered here by February 9.

Please contact the Division of Cultural Affairs' Poetry Out Loud State Program Coordinator, Alison Schaeffler-Murphy at 850.245.6462 or via email at alison.schaefflermurphy@dos.myflorida.com for further assistance or for more information.

About the Program

Poetry Out Loud was started by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation. Beginning with a very successful pilot program in 2005, the program in Florida has expanded to include additional Florida school districts, including public schools, private schools, parochial schools and home-schooled students, throughout the state.

Poetry Out Loud is administered in partnership with the State Arts Agencies of all 50 states, Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, and the District of Columbia. The Poetry Out Loud program awards a total of $100,000 in prizes to high school students and their schools each year.

For additional information, please check the National Endowment of the Arts and the Poetry Foundation’s website at poetryoutloud.org or contact Florida's State Program Coordinator via the information given below.


Alison Schaeffler-Murphy
Florida Poetry Out Loud Program Coordinator