Home   :   About Us   :   What's New   :   Arts Calendar   :   The Hub   :   Contact Us   :   Foundation

Poetry Out Loud: National Recitation Contest

Evaluation Results and Comments

Since its pilot program in 2005, Poetry Out Loud has received overwhelming positive feedback from teachers, parents and students across the nation:



  • 100% of the teachers agree that they would participate again if the contest were repeated; 81% of those strongly agree.
    95.3 % will teach recitation again even if there is no program - even though 41% have never taught recitation before and another 18% have only taught it once or twice.
    86.3% agree that the program changed the way they will teach poetry.
    86.4% learned something themselves from the program. (2005 Teacher Survey)
  • "Some of the classroom finalists were such polar opposites. They came from totally different groups. That was neat for the kids to see. It wasn't just the quiet kid who always gets an A who won." (2005 Teacher Focus Group)
  • "Well-structured and organized, the fact that they had materials and Program Guide. It had a rubric, had suggested timelines, suggestions for memorization, even had pictures of poets. Nice Job. Teachers are so busy, and they made it doable. If they hadn't done those things, it wouldn't have been doable." (2005 Teacher Focus Group)
  • "We just asked our Poetry Out Loud high school coordinators/teachers if they wanted to continue the program next year. 100% said yes." ~ New Hampshire State Arts Agency coordinator, Catherine O'Brian (2006)
  • "My misgivings about being involved in POL were that I hated the thought that there would be more 'losers' (in terms of prizes) than winners... Instead I saw a camraderie and enthusiasm for the individual 'style' and effort that each finalist brought to the stage. They [the students] were very encouraging and supportive of each other. A sense of 'teamwork' and 'friendship' came out of the coaching sessions that was wonderful to witness." (2007 Teacher Focus Group)
  • "Participating in the contest and seeing my students grow in confidence has been one of the best experiences of my teaching career. While I could insist that my students recite poetry without the contest, being a part of it and realizing that they're participating in something that is beyond the classroom has been a tremendous motivation for them. My students are generally thought of, and see themselves, as academic outcasts. Being a part of POL has countered that perception." (2007 Teacher Focus Group)



  • "I want to thank you, the NEA, and the Poetry Foundation for creating this amazing opportunity for our nation's young people. The entire Poetry Out Loud experience was absolutely wonderful for my daughter Aislinn Lowry. As I sat in the audience on May 16, I was so moved to see high school students passionate about poetry. I also discovered new poets to enjoy for myself. For Aislinn, the opportunity to be a part of Poetry Out Loud was a greatly appreciated honor." ~ Missouri parent Diane Lowry



  • "Participating in the Poetry Out Loud competition was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for me." ~ 2006 South Carolina State Champion Elizabeth Stepp
  • "I had a lot of fun performing, probably one of the best performances I've ever had. It's an amazing and strangely humbling and inspiring thing when a recitation of a poem can bring people to tears. I had people crying, and that's enough for me." ~ 2006 Massachusetts State Champion Winkong Hua