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A+  Oral Reading - Frequently Asked Questions

Is there a list from which students must choose their selections?

No. Contestants in grades 4 through 6 always read published poetry of their choice. Students in grades 7-9 alternate reading prose one year and poetry the next.

We provide a list of literature to help students and coaches get started in the A+ Handbook , and we have posted on the UIL A+ Academics web site links to several sites for award winning children's literature.

Can students use materials published only on the Web?

UIL rules do not address the issue of Web-only published material for elementary and junior high oral reading. Therefore, a student could use such material in contest, but we strongly urge careful review by the oral reading coach, as much of the material on the Web lacks literary merit (it has NOT gone through the normal publishing review/selection or editorial revision process) and will not stand up well in competition against selections of higher quality.

May students read original material they wrote themselves?

Only if that material has been published in printed form.

Can you read a song for your selection for sixth grade poetry reading? Like Bob Dylan?

Only if it has also been published as poetry.

Can I change the gender in a poem, such as by changing a word from prince to princess?


May the students recite rather than read their selection?

No. The rules clearly state, as does the title of the contest, that students are to READ their selection. Contestants should read their selections from a manuscript, and should hold that manuscript throughout their performance. It is recommended that the script be held in a small notebook.

May students use props or costumes?

No. This is prohibited in the C&CR.

Will a student be disqualified for going over time?

No, but they will be penalized one rank. If the judge or judges ranked the student first, they would be penalized one rank and moved to second place. The original second place would then win first. (Time is maximum of six minutes, which includes any introduction. There is no minimum time.)

Are audiences allowed in the contest room to listen to contestants?


How do I determine if a selection is prose, poetry or theatre?

See the UIL web site for instructions on determining the genre of any piece of literature. Determining and Distinguishing prose, poetry and drama.

Is material by Dr. Seuss considered prose or poetry?

The Library of Congress describes many of Dr. Seuss' works as "stories in rhyme," and the UIL office has ruled that most selections so described may be used as poetry in oral reading for grades 4 through 6 only. Students in these grades must always use poetry in oral reading, and this literature is most appropriate for students within this age group. However, some selections (Butter Battle Book and 500 Hundred Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins are two examples) have been specifically identified as prose, based on additional information, and may not be used as poetry.

Bibliographic information on specific works, including classification according to the Dewey Decimal System, is available at the Library of Congress Online Catalogue at

1. Go to the Library of Congress Online Catalogue at
2. Click on Search Our Catalogue
3. Click on Basic Search (You may search by title or author, subject, call number, LCCN, ISSN or ISBN or by key words.)
4. The search results will be displayed. You may be shown several different works with the same title. Make sure you click on the title that corresponds to the material and author you are investigating. There are often sound recordings, videos and other misleading items in the search results.
5. If the correct title and author appear at the top of the page, click on Full Record. Look for Subjects and/or Classification.