The 2014-2015 school year marks the 10th anniversary of the Poetry Out Loud program. Since 2005, more than 16,000 students throughout Nevada have powered up poetry by memorizing and reciting the words of classic and contemporary poets. Students can be a part of this creative community and join the celebration of the spoken word.

Registration for the spring 2015 Nevada Poetry Out Loud competition is underway through Dec. 1. High school teachers and students are invited to get involved in this dynamic program that is structured similarly to the National Spelling Bee, but focuses on literary heritage through memorization and performance of classic and contemporary works. Registration is open to all Nevada public, private, charter, parochial and alternative schools and home school associations.

“Students and their schools win in this competition,” said Maryjane Dorofachuk, arts learning coordinator for the Nevada Arts Council, a sponsor of the program. The Poetry Out Loud state champion earns $1,000, wins $1,000 for his or her school to support literary programs and travels to Washington, D.C. to compete for $50,000 in scholarships and school prizes at the National Poetry Out Loud Finals. Students placing second and third at the Nevada State Finals receive $500 each and $500 for their schools.

Poetry Out Loud begins at the local level as students learn about, memorize and finally present out loud poetry from the website, Participants advance from school to district competitions and then to the Nevada State Finals, where the stakes are high.

Preparing for the competition, students get the chance to sharpen their public speaking skills, build self-confidence and learn about their literary heritage. In 2014, more than 2500 students, teachers and coaches participated in Nevada’s Poetry Out Loud. Last year’s state champion Christian Schunke of Lyon County represented Nevada at the national finals.

Starting at the classroom level, teachers are provided with free multimedia curriculum materials – a Learning Recitation  audio guide, a teachers’ guide, posters and comprehensive website, all aligned to national standards – to augment their regular poetry curriculum with poetry recitation and a school-level competition.  The student winner and a chaperone from each participating school district receive support to attend the state finals March 1, 2015 in Reno.

Teachers are invited to find out more about 2015 Nevada Poetry Out Loud and to register to participate by Dec. 1 at the Nevada Arts Council’s website, or contact Maryjane Dorofachuk at (702) 486-3738 or

The Nevada Arts Council, along with its partners the Nevada Department of Education and Sierra Arts Foundation cosponsor Poetry Out Loud, made possible through funding and leadership of the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation. 2014 Nevada Poetry Out Loud received generous support from NV Energy.