High school teachers: add Poetry Out Loud to your must-do list

Register by Nov. 1!

Back to school time means gearing up for another year of Poetry Out Loud, a national arts education program that encourages the study of great poetry by offering  a dynamic recitation competition.  Students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence and learn about their literary heritage while gaining an appreciation of poetry.

Poetry Out Loud is open to students enrolled in grades 9 through 12 in public, private and parochial schools. The program is designed to fit into a teacher’s busy schedule. The program can take place over two to three weeks, according to each teacher’s interest and does not require full class periods. Teachers can work Poetry Out Loud into existing poetry units as the program satisfies most of the NCTE English/Language Arts Standards, as well as many of the state standards. The free teacher toolkit is filled with curriculum materials to teach poetry recitation and run classroom competitions.

Classroom winners advance to a school-wide competition, then to regional and state competitions and ultimately to the national finals. South Carolina regional competitions will be held in Blythewood and Spartanburg on January 25, 2014, and in Charleston on January 26, 2014. Nine regional finalists will compete in the state finals in Columbia on March 15, 2014. The national finals will be held April 29-30, 2014, in Washington, DC. The state winner receives $200, plus $500 for his or her school library, and an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington to compete for the national championship and a $20,000 scholarship. The state first runner-up receives $100, plus $200 for his or her school library.

Last year more than 4,000 S.C. students participated, with Katherine Murchison of Charleston being crowned state winner and advancing to nationals. This year, more than 375,000 students are expected to take part nationwide.

Nov. 1 is the deadline to register for the 2013-2014 school year. For more information or to register, visit the Poetry Out Loud web page, email Frances Kablick Keel or call the South Carolina Arts Commission, (803) 734-8696.

The South Carolina Arts Commission is pleased to partner with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation to bring Poetry Out Loud to high schools across South Carolina for a ninth year.