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About the Competition

The National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation have partnered with the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts to support Poetry Out Loud, a FREE high school program which encourages the nation's youth to learn about great poetry through memorization and recitation. This dynamic program helps high school students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, learn about their literary heritage, and compete for more than $100,000 in awards.

Get Involved!

In order to compete, schools must register through the state contact listed below. All materials and resources will be provided. Competitions begin each fall at the school or classroom level to identify one student winner to represent their school at the regional or state finals. The state finals competition will be held in March to determine the state winner representing Pennsylvania at the National Finals in Washington, DC.


 POL Regional Competition 2017-2018

POL Regional Competition 2017-2018

2018 - 2019 Poetry Out Loud Contest: The Basics!

Nearly 4500 high schools across the country and 112 high schools in Pennsylvania participate in the annual Poetry Out Loud  (POL) national recitation contest!  Join us! Your high school’s champion will participate in the regional finals; the regional champion will participate in the state finals.  Our region includes Cameron, Elk, Forest, McKean and Potter Counties.  The state champion will travel expense-free to Washington, DC for the national finals.  

Poetry Out Loud is a free program offered to every high school student in Pennsylvania.  Poetry Out Loud encourages students to learn about great poetry through memorization, performance, and competition.  Studying literature, including poetry, practicing speaking, listening, language and reading skills strongly supports your district’s curriculum. Take a look at the Teacher's Preparation Guide.

  • The teachers’ guide offers suggestions so that you can customize the program to meet your time & schedule constraints.
  • The guide also suggests ways to teach recitation and performance, a DVD of distinguished actors and writers reciting and talking about poetry, media guides, and promo materials.
  • Teachers and students have access to the website and support materials that include nearly 800 poems, media guides and more.

Getting Started

  • Individual or groups of teachers, a school club, or the entire school may participate
  • Teachers can determine the extent of their participation.  For example, incorporate POL into a unit of study, perhaps culminating in recitations by each student in front of the class.
  • Offer the program as an extra credit project, after school program’s project, or use some or all of the lesson plans offered on-line teacher’s guide.
  • Whatever you plan, the end result should be one winner from your school who will participate in the regional contest. Date and location TBA.

What Must Students Do?

Choose a poem from the POL anthology to memorize and recite.   Nearly 800 are on-line.

  • Recitations may not include props, costumes, or music.   Some gestures and minimal movement may, however, be appropriate to a given poem.

The Winner . . .

Each school’s winner will then participate in the regional contest.

  • Participants will prepare three (3) poems to recite.
  • The regional winner will participate in the state competition, date TBA.
  • The state winner will receive $200 and an all-expense paid trip (with a chaperon) to Washington, DC to compete for the national championship in May.
  • The state winner’s school will receive a $500 stipend to purchase poetry books.  A runner-up in each state will receive $100 with $200 for his/her school to purchase poetry books.

Go to poetryoutloud.org, email Matt Frank, regional coordinator, at pol@eccota.com