CCT: Poerty Out Loud Home

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Since the 2005-06 school year, students from high schools across Connecticut have benefited from Poetry Out Loud (POL), a program sponsored by National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the Poetry Foundation. This free recitation program encourages the nationís youth to learn about great poetry through memorization and performance, which help students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about our literary heritage. Poetry Out Loud uses a pyramid structure. Beginning at the classroom level, winners from each class will advance to the school-wide competition.  Each school will send a finalist to the Connecticut State Finals.*   The winner of the Connecticut State Finals will advance to the National Finals in Washington, DC. On average, more than 200,000 students nationwide take part annually. 

This year, the Connecticut Office of the Arts is thrilled to be offering POL in partnership with Connecticut Humanities (CTh).  CTh staff members Rachel Pollak: and Amanda Roy: will be coordinating POL activities and events in consort with COA.   For specifics about Connecticutís POL program, the most up-to-date information, to participate, register for events or for more information please visit the CTh web site at

*Depending on the number of participating school, Connecticut may hold Regional Competitions in 2014.  If so, winners from each region will then advance to the State Finals.

Event Details



FALL 2013

Late September to mid October

Specific details to be announced

Information Sessions conducted across the state to provide an overview of the POL program, including timeline and expectations, a calendar indicating specific due dates, event dates, and a question and answer session.

Rachel Pollak:

By October 18

Schools register to participate

Registration form available at

October 23

8:30AM Ė 3:00PM

Middlesex Community College, Middletown

Professional Development Workshop for Teachers: 

Connecticut Office of the Arts in partnership with Connecticut Humanities will provide a full-day professional development workshop for registered teachers to  promote understanding of the role of recitation in teaching poetry, public speaking and presentation skills.  Participating teachers will rotate through skills- building and instructional practice workshops designed to provide practical strategies to employ in the classroom.  Sessions, led by Connecticut educators and teaching artists who specialize in poetry or theatre, or who have experience integrating POL into their curriculum, may include: Getting started; Elements of performance; Creative Writing; Building Enthusiasm; Dramatization; Teaching Tone; Choosing a Poem; Managing the Process; etc.  Poetry Out Loud Teacher Resource Kits provided by the National Endowment of the Arts and the Poetry Foundation will be distributed during this workshop.

Registration form available at

Those unable to attend the workshop may obtain their Poetry Out Loud Teacher Resource Kit by contacting Rachel Pollak:


Participating teachers conduct POL in their classrooms

November 15, 2013:

Deadline to schedule Artists visits that take place in your school between December 2 and February 14.

Teaching Poets and Theatre Artists visit schools: 

Teaching poets and theatre artists work directly with students to hone skills on poetry recitation and help them to prepare for competition. Artist visits support teachers as they incorporate POL into their curriculum and prepare students for competition. 

Process to schedule a visiting artist for your school will be posted after October 24 at

February 20, 2014

Deadline to submit School Champion Form

Classroom & School Champions identified at each school

Form to identify your school champion will be posted by February 1, 2014 at

February 20, 2014

Deadline to register

Registration for School Champion Workshop and State Finals Competition


Process to register your school champion will be posted by February 1, 2014 at

February 25, 2014

Student Champ Workshop Day

School champion, runner-up, and teacher teams will meet and work with peers from around the state.  They will participate in a full-day conference in which professional poet and theatre teaching artists will help students hone their skills for poetry recitations, and will guide teachers in preparing their students.

Additional information COMING SOON


2014 State and National Competitions


2014 Connecticut Regionals (if necessary)

Determined and announced by January 5, 2014

March 12, 2014

2014 Connecticut State Finals

Additional information COMING SOON

April 29-30, 2014

CT State Champ represents CT at POL National Competition in Washington, DC

Student receives specific information at state finals




Contest Structure

Poetry Out Loud uses a pyramid structure. Beginning at the classroom level, winners from each class will advance to the school-wide competition.  Each school will send a finalist to the state competition.  Ultimately, one student per state will advance to the National Finals in Washington, DC On average, more than 200,000 students nationwide take part annually.

NCTE Standards and Classroom Time
Poetry Out Loud satisfies more than half of the NCTE English Language Arts Standards.  The Teachers' Guide includes all elements the teacher needs to implement the program, from tools to help students memorize and perform great poems, to optional lesson plans that give students opportunities to discuss poems and write poetry.

The schedule and curriculum for Poetry Out Loud have been intentionally designed to fit into a teacher's busy schedule without much disruption.  The program takes place in the classroom over about two to three weeks, and does not require full class periods during that time.


Free Program Materials and Services
In addition to hands-on training with professional artists, participating schools receive the following free multimedia educational materials:

  • Teachers' guide to help instructors teach recitation and performance
  • A comprehensive web site, that includes program materials, writing activities, and lesson plans
  • An extensive online poetry anthology
  • Hardcopy anthologies of approximately 130 poems
  • Audio CD of distinguished actors and writers reciting and talking about poetry
  • Best Performance DVD 
  • Media guides and promotional materials

Each winner at the state level received $200 and an all-expenses-paid trip (with a chaperone) to travel to Washington, DC, for the National Finals.  The state winner's school received a $500 stipend for the purchase of poetry books.  A runner-up in each state received $100, with $200 for his or her school library.  Winners receive $50,000 total in scholarships and school stipends at the National Finals, with a $20,000 college scholarship for the Poetry Out Loud National Champion.

For more information, visit or contact

Rachel Pollak at

Amanda Roy at


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Content Last Modified on 11/19/2013 3:48:00 PM