National Contests

By competing in our online recitation contests, students can become National Recitation Champions and win cash prizes!

Once a student is declared their school's champion in a given language stream (or they are the only student who wants to compete for that year), they are eligible to enter either the Junior Online Finals or the Senior Online Qualifiers, depending on their grade:

  • The Junior Online Finals for students in grades 7-9
    • Prizes range from $200 to $500
  • Senior Online Qualifiers for students in grades 10-12
    • All semifinalists win $250
  • The Senior National Finals for students in grades 10-12
    • Prizes range from $1000 to $3000

Each school can only have one champion competing in our individual online contests per language stream (English, French and Bilingual).


  1. Each school champion memorizes and practices their recitations of 2 poems:
    • English Stream school champion: 2 English poems
    • Bilingual Stream school champion: 1 English poem + 1 French poem
    • French Stream school champion: 2 French poems
  2. A parent/guardian signs a permission form (students who are 18 or older sign the appropriate form themselves).
  3. The student and teacher film each recitation separately according to our specifications.
  4. A teacher or student uploads the videos to their own YouTube account, titling the videos the poem’s title ONLY (do not include personal or school names), and setting privacy to Unlisted.
  5. A teacher logs in to their Poetry In Voice account and uploads the permission form and recitation videos by the contest deadline. 
  6. Judges from across the country evaluate the recitations.
  7. The student and submitting teacher are notified by email about the results.
  • In the Junior Online Finals, the 3 top-scoring students in each stream win:
    • 1st place: $500
    • 2nd place: $300
    • 3rd place: $200
  • From the results of the Senior Online Qualifiers, the 9 top-scoring students are invited to participate in the National Finals, with travel and accommodation provided by Poetry In Voice. See more details on our National Finals page. Please note that teachers are no longer required to accompany their student to National Finals. 



  • Each recitation requires its own separate video.
  • Each video should be filmed in one single shot and from one static angle.
  • For each recitation video, the student should be:
    • standing and facing the camera, head to mid-torso (medium shot)
    • in front of a plain background
    • sure that no school insignia or visual representations of any kind are visible
    • the only visible and audible person in the video
  • The sound and picture must be clear.
  • Videos cannot be edited.
  • Do not add music, graphics, titles, or computer animation.
  • Videos that do not respect our requirements will be disqualified.


  • Students must begin by stating the title of the poem and the poet’s name only.
  • A student’s own editorial comments before or after the poem are not allowed.
  • Poems must be recited from memory.
  • A student competing in the English or French Stream must recite two poems. A student competing in the Bilingual Stream must also recite two poems: one in English and one in French.
  • Avoid character accents.


  • Start recording a few seconds before the recitation and stop recording a few seconds after the end.
  • Students may look directly into the camera, at a fixed spot, or at an imagined audience.
  • Use a tripod or secure the camera on a shelf.
  • Use a microphone, if possible. If the microphone is on the camera, position the camera close to the student.
  • Watch the video after you film it. Be sure to check the accuracy of the recitation. If you’re not happy with the video, film it again.
  • Use the poem title to name the video when you save it.



After February 1, you will be able to access our contest submission system. Here are the instructions:



If you are a teacher and you don’t have a teacher account with us yet, create one here.



  • a computer with access to the Internet
  • each student’s name, grade, and contact email address
  • a digital copy of each student’s signed permission form
  • the titles of the poems 
  • the recitation videos
  • a YouTube account 


  1. Upload your student videos to YouTube. Each poem must be a separate video. Title the video the title of the poem only. Set privacy to “Unlisted.” Copy the links of the videos.
  2. Log in.
  3. Click the "Competitions" tab
  4. Click "Manage"
  5. Select a competition
  6. Select a prize stream
  7. Click "add"
  8. Complete all required fields.
  9. Upload the student’s signed permission form.
  10. Fill in poem titles, in order of recitation.  
  11. Paste the YouTube URL link for the correct video into the text box. Click “Submit.” Click “Watch” to not only ensure the video plays properly, but also that the title and the poem recited match.
  12. Repeat step 10 and 11 for the second poem.

If your school is competing in more than one prize stream, repeat steps 1-13 for each competitor. Once you click "Save", your entries will be submitted.

Please note that the second recitation will be considered for the People's Choice Award. Teachers can re-order their students' recitations as they see fit. 


  • To ensure your video will be properly processed, please follow YouTube’s recommended guidelines. Video upload times will depend on the speed of your internet connection and the size of your video files. You may consider compressing your videos prior to upload.
  • After uploading, please note that YouTube may take some time to process your video.
  • Once upload is complete, click "Watch" to ensure that the video plays back correctly and is associated with the correct poem title.


  • Students in the English Stream and in the French Stream who are among the 9 invited to compete at the Finals will be asked to learn a third poem. One of their three poems must be pre-21st century
  • A student may only compete in one stream in a given year.
  • Previous champions may not compete in the same language stream.
  • There will be no library prizes for the purchase of poetry books. 
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