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?
- I would suggest you 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. We prefer the Garfield version.
- 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 two or three plays per year. Our goal is two per year which allows us flexibility in scheduling.
- While listening to the story, your student could draw the characters. Or paper dolls, such as these 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
- How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare by Ken Ludwig
Websites about Shakespeare
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