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Poetry Out Loud looks for participating Illinois schools

Free program available to all Illinois high schools

Express your school's interest now for the 2008-2009 academic year

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[May 27, 2008]  CHICAGO -- The Illinois Arts Council cordially invites all Illinois high schools to participate in the 2009 Poetry Out Loud: National Recitation Contest, a free national program created by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation. Poetry Out Loud encourages youth to learn about great poetry through memorization and performance. Teachers from throughout the country have found that this program helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence and learn about literary heritage. In 2008, an estimated 200,000 high school students competed in classrooms nationwide. Prizes totaling more than $100,000 were awarded to students and schools at the state and national levels.

"When I imagine students from our school sitting up at night reading over poem after poem, searching for the one that strikes a cord with them, I smile and am thankful we adopted this program. I recall the nervous sophomore girl stepping in front of the class and morphing into Carl Sandburg reciting 'Chicago' with a confidence I didn't know she possessed. These are the benefits of the Poetry Out Loud program that have changed the way I teach poetry."

-- Craig Lawrence, Wheaton Warrenville South High School English teacher whose student, Mark Schmidt, is the 2008 Poetry Out Loud Illinois state champion

Poetry Out Loud curriculum materials include print and online poetry anthologies, a teacher's guide to help instructors teach recitation and performance, an audio CD featuring distinguished actors and writers, promotional and media guides, and a comprehensive online site. Hard copies of all materials are free for schools participating in the official program. All curriculum materials and further details regarding the program are available for download from

Poetry Out Loud materials will be sent to high schools in early fall of 2008, and participating schools will run the program through late fall or early winter. The program requires only two or three weeks of class time. Illinois will have the state final by March 17, 2009. Following the state finals, the national finals and semifinals will be conducted in Washington, D.C., toward the end of April 2009.

Teachers: Follow this link to express your interest in Illinois' Poetry Out Loud: National Recitation Contest for the 2008-2009 academic year: Poetry Out Loud 2008-2009: Illinois.

[Text from Illinois Arts Council file received from the Illinois Office of Communication and Information]





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