Poetry Out Loud

Chloe Bilo and Dukey Kriksceonaitis

Poetry Out Loud encourages students to learn about poetry and gives them the opportunity to memorize a poem and recite it to their classmates. Since Poetry Out Loud has started, it has grown throughout the country reaching more than 3 million students and 50,000 teachers. Some people say that it helps with public speaking skills and self confidence, but some say otherwise.
The competition starts at the classroom level. The students pick a poem of their choice and they memorize it. They battle against their classmates, and the winners move onto the school wide competition. After winning your school’s competition, you move onto states and finally to Nationals.

To gain insight of what students thought of Poetry Out Loud, students from different grades at Ipswich High School were interview and asked to share their opinions on it. Caitlyn Stevens, a senior who participated in Poetry Out Loud, had this to say on whether or not she liked the event, “No, because I think that it puts some students in an uncomfortable situation who aren’t confident in public speaking.” Many don’t usually like speaking in front of others, but Poetry Out Loud can help many people to overcome this fear. Often times, reciting poetry helps many students feel more comfortable in front of a large group of people. When asked if he thought this event helped with public speaking, senior Miles Brengle, said, “Yes it did, because it gave me the opportunity to open up in front of my classmates and express my love for poetry.”
After interviewing some students, Mrs. Slawson, an English teacher at Ipswich, shared some of her opinions about why Poetry Out Loud should be mandatory for every student. Her response was very moving as she responded, “Should learning how to read be optional for students? Should learning how to write be optional? What about learning how to make healthy choices about food and exercise, or learning how to protect the environment in Science? There are things that are important for every person to learn how to do well. Public speaking is also one of these things. We all have to do it in our lives, and it’s important that we have the chance to learn how to do it well. We will feel less frightened of it when we have the opportunity to practice it in a safe supportive space. Poetry Out Loud gives students that space. The experience is about learning how to present ourselves and our ideas to a group of people, which can be scary. But we all need to be able to do it or we will miss out on exciting opportunities in our lives. Poetry Out Loud is and should be required for all students because life requires all of us to present ourselves and our ideas in public at one time or another.”
In conclusion, Poetry Out Loud has many positive aspects, but some students believe there are some negatives to it. It is a great experience, and I think that it is a great addition to schools around the United States.