If you love to read aloud with expression, this category may be for you. Contestants become familiar with a variety short stories and poems; at each competition participants will draw a poem or story cutting to rehearse during a 30-minute preparation time. Being fluent and expressive as well as understanding the stories are important components of a reading performance.
Official Rules - 2013
- Participation in Extemporaneous Reading teach a student to introduce and read excerpts from prose or poetry for the purpose of appreciation or enjoyment. The student will declare, prior to each draw, his/her choice of genre. Specific sources for reading will be announced in the fall of each year. The League Office will identify specific poems and stories for contests. NO CUTTINGS WILL BE MADE AVAILABLE BEFORE THE ACTUAL CONTESTS.
- The order of speaking shall be determined by lot. Thirty (30) minutes before the contest begins, the first reader shall draw three cuttings. The reader shall immediately choose one of them, and return the other two which will then be placed with the other cuttings remaining to be drawn. The cuttings chosen shall be recorded by the event manager. Each of the succeeding readers shall, at intervals of eight (8) minutes, in turn, follow the same procedure. In finals at ALL levels of competition, the student may not perform a cutting that she/he has performed in a preliminary round at that level of competition. In the event that the student draws a previously performed cutting, she/he may draw a substitute cutting.
- After the contestant has drawn a cutting, the student shall not confer or have any communication with a coach or others until the reading has been delivered. Each reader shall present the cutting draw slip to the Room Manager or Judge(s) in the round.
- While the inadvertent skipping or substitution of a single word or phrase in a Extemporaneous Reading may occasionally and understandably occur, students must be careful that entire sentences or more are not skipped during the presentation.
- For poetry, students must read selections in the order listed on the draw slip. For prose, students must start at the beginning of the prescribed cutting and read as much of the complete cutting as time permits. Students are allowed to stop reading at any point within the last minute. If the time has expired, the student shall complete only the sentence already begun. Allowable cutting would include the elimination of "he said" and "she said" once a character has been established or the omission of language objectionable to the contestant.
- The student should be judged on the ability to introduce the excerpt with a few appropriate extemporaneous remarks, and to read the selection with effective vocal and bodily expression.
- The student may use a "teaser" as a part of the introduction. However, the "teaser" must be a part of the actual drawn section of the story or poem. If the "teaser" appears within the cutting, it may not be eliminated within the reading presented.
- THE ENTIRE DELIVERY TIME, INCLUDING THE REQUIRED INTRODUCTION, SHALL NOT EXCEED SIX (6) MINUTES. NO GRACE PERIOD IS PROVIDED IN THIS EVENT.
Complete speech rules and FAQs on rule interpretations can be found on the MSHSL website.