Shakespeare? Yes, Shakespeare! Before we began home educating, I thought of Shakespeare as a high school subject even though I don’t even remember reading it during high school. I have since discovered that it is not just a high school subject. My grade school daughters enjoy it as well!
Why should you study Shakespeare?
- It will increase your vocabulary. William Shakespeare used over 17,000 words and invented 1,700 of those. He wrote, or co- wrote, about 40 plays and 154 sonnets.
- In literature there are many references whose origins are from a Shakespeare play.
- Shakespeare’s plays are rich literature.
- Shakespeare had a good understanding of the nature of man.
How should you study Shakespeare?
- Do not begin until your oldest student is nine or ten.
- Once a week for about 20-3o minutes, read an introductory story such as the Nesbit, Garfield, or Lamb version. This is all you need to read for a younger student. The Nesbit version is better for younger students.
- When your student is ready for more (middle school or older), follow along in a script as you listen to professional actors. Audible.com and Librivox.org have several options.
- Once you have listened along, you can take turns reading aloud short passages.
- It is difficult to resist Shakespeare when presented in a fun manner. One option would be to have a favorite drink and something yummy to eat. We call this time “Shakespeare Tea,” even though my girls do not drink tea.
- You can watch the movie of the play if you can find an appropriate version. See reviews of Shakespeare Movies or here.
- If your children are young begin by reading one play per year, working up to one play per term (three plays annually).
- While listening to the story, your student could draw the characters.
- Paper dolls, such as those from Dover or Masterpuppet Theater, can be used to reenact the play.
Shakespeare Book Resources
- Bard of Avon: The Story of William Shakespeare by Diane Stanley (good introductory book about Shakespeare)
- Beautiful Stories From Shakespeare by E. Nesbit (better for younger students than Lamb)
- Brush Up Your Shakespeare by Michael Macrone
- Tales from Shakespeare by Charles Lamb (a little more detailed and longer stories than Nesbit)
- Shakespeare for Children by Jim Weiss (audio CD)
- Shakespeare Stories by Leon Garfield
- Shakespeare Stories II by Leon Garfield
- William Shakespeare & the Globe by Aliki
- Bruce Coville books—beautifully illustrated narrative of many of the plays
Websites about Shakespeare
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