You are invited to join other high schools across the country for the annual Poetry Out Loud (POL) national recitation contest! Your high school’s champion will participate in the regional finals; the regional champion will participate in the state finals. Our region includes Bradford, Columbia, Lycoming, Sullivan, and Tioga counties. The state champion will travel expense-free to Washington, DC for the national finals.

Poetry Out Loud encourages students to learn about great poetry through memorization, performance, and competition.  Free, standards-based curriculum materials are available for schools, teachers, and students.   You may see the teachers’ guide at: A hard copy has been given to your superintendents.

  • POL satisfies more than half of the NCTE English Language Arts Standards.
  • The teachers’ guide offers suggestions so that you can customize the program to meet your time & schedule constraints.
  • Teachers receive a guide to help them teach recitation and performance and promo materials.
  • Teachers and students have access to website support materials that include more than 600 poems, media guides and more.


Getting involved

  • 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 or after school program’s project, or use some or all of the lesson plans offered on-line or in the free teacher’s guide.
  • Whatever you plan, the end result should be one winner from your school who will participate in the regional contest.


What Must Students Do?

Choose a poem from the POL anthology to memorize and recite.   More than 600 are on-line; 150 are available in the anthology.  SOME POEMS HAVE BEEN RETIRED.  Go to:

  • Recitations may not include props, costumes, or music.   Some gestures and minimal movement may, however, be appropriate to a given poem.
  • At least one of the poems must be fewer than 25 lines; at least one poem must be pre-20th century.  One poem may satisfy more than one requirement.


The Winner . . . . Each school’s winner will then participate in the regional contest scheduled for Friday, January 17th at 1 p.m. at The Keystone Theatre, Towanda.

  • Participants will prepare three (3) poems to recite.
  • The regional winner will participate in the state competition March 8th and 9th in Harrisburg to honor Poetry Out Loud’s 15thNov anniversary.
  • Each winner at the state level will receive $200 and an all-expenses-paid trip with an adult chaperone to Washington, DC, to compete in the National Finals. The state winner’s school will receive a $500 stipend for the purchase of poetry books. The first runner-up in each state will receive $100, with $200 for his or her school library. Some states may offer additional prizes. We will award $50,000 total in cash and school stipends at the National Finals, with a $20,000 award for the Poetry Out Loud National Champion.



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Towanda, Pennsylvania


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