Poetry Out Loud encourages students to learn about great poetry through memorization and recitation. The program’s National Recitation Contest, sponsored by the Poetry Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts, begins at the classroom level. Classroom winners advance to a schoolwide competition, then to regional and state competitions, and ultimately to the National Finals. States hold their competitions in mid-March; the National Finals are held between April 23 and 25, 2018, at George Washington University. Each winner at the state level receives $200 and an all-expenses-paid trip with an adult chaperone to Washington, DC, to compete for the national championship. The state winner’s school receives $500 for the purchase of poetry books. The first runner-up in each state receives $100, plus $200 for his or her school. A total of $50,000 in awards and school stipends is awarded annually at the National Finals.
Deadlines: Vary by state; states hold their competitions by mid-March. Following the state finals, the National Finals will be held in Washington, DC, April 23–25, 2018.
June is Immigrant Heritage Month, and Brightly, an online resource to help educators grow lifelong readers, features 15 booksfor children about the Immigrant Experience in America. One of the books suggested for children in prekindergarten/kindergarten is The Name Jar, a familiar immigrant tale of having an unfamiliar name and feeling like an outsider—until someone kind or brave or both makes a gesture of inclusion.
The TESOL Teacher of the Year Award, presented by National Geographic Learning, recognizes outstanding teachers for their commitment to advancing English language teaching and learning practices, and their dedication to motivate and inspire their students. Applicants are not required to be TESOL members; any English language educator who has been a classroom teacher for a minimum of three years may apply.
If you’re looking for a way to take story time up a notch with the children in your classroom, why not turn to astronauts? That’s the premise of Story Time from Space, a project from the nonprofit Global Space Education Foundation that features astronauts reading children’s books from the International Space Station.