We transform young lives and improve their classrooms through student poetry writing.

Our Mission

The 7th Grade Poetry Foundation (7GP) transforms young lives and improves their classrooms through student poetry writing. We provide free school-based poetry contests to every 7th grade student in all types of schools in every community. 7GP seeks to create an educational literary arts "write of passage" that helps develop our nation's best and most diverse generation of poets laureate. We unite students, families, educators and communities through authentic 7th grade poetry.

+ Why Run a 7GP Contest?

Experts* say that to fix the writing crisis in education, the problem must be addressed prior to high school.

Through 7GP, students experience that writing

  • is fun
  • is meant to be shared
  • provides a sense of ownership and pride.

For some students, writing competitions bring out their best work. A writing competition providing freedom of choice for theme and style appeals to young people. A contest designed so that any person can win generates positive energy and authentic creativity and helps inspire new and experienced writers to do their best work.

There is the need for a cultural revolution based on writing that can result in a new educational literary rite of passage. As the midpoint in K-12 education, 7th grade is when most schools in the United States teach the forms and devices of poetry. Around age 13, many global cultures celebrate and most students biologically experience the transformation from childhood to young adolescence. Seventh grade is the ideal school year to establish an all-inclusive writing initiative that provides and celebrates creative authenticity and autonomy.

*The 7GP approach is designed to address the 40-year-old writing crisis in schools, combining recommendations from The Rand Corporation, Alliance for Excellent Education, National Commission on Writing, and Reading is Fundamental.

+ Why 7th Grade?

Reading and writing poetry are parts of the standardized curriculum for 7th grade classrooms in nearly every state in the country. This is partially due to the Common Core State Standards Initiative, a nationwide program developed by teachers, school administrators and experts, to provide a clear and consistent framework to prepare children for college and the workforce. 7GP designed its approach to enhance school-based outcomes.

+ How We Accomplish Our Mission

With our collaborators, 7GP provides any school with a 7th grade classroom the incentives to encourage students to compete in our sponsored poetry writing contests. Students are invited to write the poem of their choice: on any theme, in any style, in any length. Each school picks one winning poem. 7GP publishes an anthology containing each year's winning poems and donates the books to the winning students, participating schools and public libraries. We host filmed poetry reading events to showcase the schools' poets laureate, presenting their own poems before students, family, educators and community members. A film of the event will be produced and aired online. Each winning student will also receive a cash prize.