Poetry Out Loud


[ Competition timeline ]

  • 12.06.2012 - 12.07.2012: Classroom competition (in Mr. Smith's room during class time)
  • 12.18.2012: School finals (in Mr. Smith's room at 4:30 PM) -- UPDATE: Our school-level competitors have been determined. Come support them at the school competition!
    • Representing RWWS 3:
      1. Emily
      2. Christian
      3. Alexis
    • Representing RWWS 4:
      1. Nikki
      2. TIE: Corbin and Dalton
      3. Jade
  • 01.22.2013: District finals (at Orringer Auditorium on Craven Community College campus at 6:00 PM) -- UPDATE: Congratulations to our district winner, Dalton! Come support him at the state finals (info below).
  • 03.16.2013: State semifinals and finals (all-day event) at the Greensboro Public Library (219 North Church Street, Greensboro, NC 27401)
  • 04.29.2013 - 04.30.2013: National finals in Washington, DC

[ Assignments ]

[ Resources ]

  • Check out the official site for the national competition.
  • Get more information about our state-level competition from the NC Arts Council site.
  • Browse the online archive of competition-approved poems by title and author.
  • The POL Teacher's Guide contains a variety of helpful information, including the scoring rubrics used in the competition.
  • Mensa for Kids provides some helpful tips for poetry memorization beginning on page two of this PDF.

[ 11 basic steps for reading a poem ]

The following procedure is borrowed from the Online Writing Lab at Louisiana Tech (http://www.latech.edu/tech/liberal-arts/english/old/owl/literature/poetryguide.htm).
  1. Read through the poem to get a sense of it.
  2. Identify the sentences and independent clauses (circle the periods, exclamation points, question marks, and semicolons). For some reason, people always forget that poetry is made up of complete sentences. You may find it helpful during this step to re-write your poem in sentence/paragraph form.
  3. Read a few lines to figure out the meter (figure out how many stresses there are in a typical line). In other words, decide if your poem has a rhythm or "beat."
  4. Note the rhyme scheme (look for a pattern).
  5. Read the poem out loud. Try to follow the rhythm. If you do this, you'll hear where the poet plays with the rhythm. And you'll hear the rhyme scheme.
  6. Look up any words you don't understand.
  7. Re-read the poem out loud.
  8. Mark off any sections in the poem. These sections may be speeches given by a character, discussions of a particular topic, changes in mood, or a new stage of an argument.
  9. Re-read the poem.
  10. Figure out the tone -- the emotion -- of the poem. (Check out this list of tone words to help you do so.)
  11. Re-read the poem.