Reading & Literacy

Students’ Recitations Could Earn Them Big Bucks in New Poetry Contest

By Kathleen Kennedy Manzo — December 06, 2005 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

The National Endowment for the Arts and the Chicago-based Poetry Foundation are betting on the popularity of poetry slams and rap music among young people to help build participation in a new contest emphasizing memorization and performance.

The Poetry Out Loud: National Recitation Contest will expand on a pilot program early next year with local and state competitions for high school students nationwide. It will culminate in a national finals next spring, with $50,000 in scholarships for the winners.

“Learning great poetry by heart develops the mind and imagination,” endowment Chairman Dana Gioia, a respected poet himself, said in a statement. “By immersing themselves in powerful language and ideas, the students will develop their ability to speak well, especially in public.”

Contestants will recite and perform select poems and other literary works. They will be judged on volume, speed, voice inflection, posture and presence, evidence of understanding, pronunciation, gestures, accuracy, and level of difficulty. No composition is involved.

The national endowment and the foundation, which publishes Poetry magazine, will also offer print and online materials to help teachers teach poetry recitation and performance. They have each pledged $500,000 to support the project.

For more information, go to


School & District Management K-12 Essentials Forum Get a Strong Start to the New School Year
Get insights and actions from Education Week journalists and expert guests on how to start the new school year on strong footing.
Reading & Literacy Webinar A Roadmap to Multisensory Early Literacy Instruction: Accelerate Growth for All Students 
How can you develop key literacy skills with a diverse range of learners? Explore best practices and tips to meet the needs of all students. 
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
College & Workforce Readiness Webinar
Supporting 21st Century Skills with a Whole-Child Focus
What skills do students need to succeed in the 21st century? Explore the latest strategies to best prepare students for college, career, and life.
Content provided by Panorama Education

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Reading & Literacy Opinion When the 'Science of Reading' Goes Too Far
A 3rd grade teacher and a literacy specialist lament time-consuming assessments that do little to promote reading comprehension.
Jessica Hahn & Mia Hood
5 min read
A young child opens a world of literacy in a book
Jorm Sangsorn/iStock/Getty
Reading & Literacy 5 Insights on Getting the ‘Science of Reading’ Into Classrooms
Here are 5 things to know from EdWeek's reporting on the national movement to overhaul reading instruction.
5 min read
First grader Geniss Gibbs practices reading skills at Eastern Elementary School in Washington, N.C., on May 23, 2022.
First grader Geniss Gibbs practices reading skills at Eastern Elementary School in Washington, N.C., in May.
Kate Medley for Education Week
Reading & Literacy Opinion How to Help Students Embrace Reading. Educators Weigh In
To encourage the development of lifelong-reading habits in their students, educators must use both science and art.
3 min read
Surreal Illustration of books flying through the air
Jorm Sangsorn/iStock